Are food traditions silly? That is hard to say - it depends upon who might be eating them I suppose. I had a very good friend and neighbor that had a tradition that she shared with me and it also became my tradition - and now my own family's tradition.
We always eat black eyed peas to bring us good luck for the new year.
Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. According to a portion of the Talmud written around 500 A.D., it was Jewish custom at the time to eat black-eyed peas in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s possible that the tradition arrived in America with Sephardic Jews, who first arrived in Georgia in the 1730s. Common folklore tells that the tradition spread after the Civil War. The Northern Army considered the black-eyed peas to be suitable only for animals, so they didn’t carry away or destroy the crops.
They also say that eating these legumes demonstrates humility and a lack of vanity. The humble nature of the black-eyed pea is echoed by the old expression, “Eat poor on New Year's, and eat fat the rest of the year.” Another explanation is that dried beans loosely resemble coins. Yet another is that because dried beans greatly expand in volume, they symbolize expanding wealth.
Whatever the reason, I love black eyed peas, and I have veganized my friend Ruth's recipe, and it does bring good luck...and good health. Why not make this dish for your New Year?
Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness. Broil chiles, garlic, and tomatillos on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes.
Peel garlic and pull off tops of chiles. Purée all ingredients in a blender. Store in frig overnight.
Remove kernals from 3 ears of corn and chop 3 serrano chiles - roast under broiler until charred - about 8 minutes. Set aside and cool.
Combine the following:
11/2 cup cooked rice
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked black eyed peas
3 minced green onions
3 small diced tomatoes
3 cloves minced garlic
Add the corn and chlies.
Add 1 cup of salsa
Salt and Pepper to taste
Thoroughly combine and refrigerate several hours. Heat and serve warm or at room temperature.
Garnish with avocado
Serves 8 as side.