As far as I know, eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is a tradition across the South. I’m not sure why, but they supposedly bring luck for the whole year (I should have eaten an extra dose before our trip to Vegas last week).
Since my parents are from Texas, I grew up eating black eyed peas every January 1. When I first left home, my mom would send me a bag of dried peas each December among Christmas presents, making sure she did her part in passing on some New Year’s luck. I typically took the bag and shoved it to the very back of my kitchen cabinet, right next to the bag from the year before. To be fair, though, the dried black eyed peas went uncooked mostly because I was spending my winters in the mountains of Colorado, where the altitude makes cooking beans just about impossible without a pressure cooker. I’m back at sea level these days, so I’m returning to my black eyed pea roots. Since they taste great and are healthy, why buck tradition?