Monday, December 31, 2007

Start the New Year Off by Hopping

Happy New Year!

Well, it's almost time to start the cooking again for the feasting on
New Year's Day. Can you believe it? It's almost 2008. My my, how
the time does fly. You know, I see the years fly by on the calendar,
but I am just too young to be this old. Must be all those wonderful
New Year traditions that have kept me going.

What do you eat? At our house, we have the traditional southern
pork, collards, and hoppin' John. Yum yum. Have you ever thought of
why we eat pork on this day? Grandma always said the pork
represented prosperity as they are plump, therefore, getting enough
to eat. Grandpa said the hogs use their snouts to root towards the
future, leaving the past behind. This was in sharp contradiction to
those yard animals that scratch backwards. Besides, who wants to
scratch for a living in the new year?

The collards, of course, are green and represent having plenty of
money. I especially like them cooked with sugar to cut the bitter
taste. Up in Yankee land, they have more of the tradition of eating
cabbage for their money and luck. I'm told it's because cabbage is
green in its raw state. I've never developed a taste for the
sauerkraut, but many do. I'll let them have my portion.

And, my favorite. Hoppin' John! You do know that tradition dictates
the youngest in the house hops around the table as it is put on the
table? Ah, I love hoppin' John. Cook black eyed peas for luck.
Cook them in a broth and with ham hock or pieces in it. Add the
cooked rice. Make sure the hoppin' John drippings are also added to
the rice. Oh, I can't wait!

Top it all off with New Year's Cake which has a penny in it for
luck. Guess it's supposed to help pay all those taxes! Up north,
they seem to favor having apple pie for New Year's Dessert.

No matter what your tastes are, Miss Faye, I'm sure you'll keep the
tradition of spending the first moments after the New Year chimes in
with your loved ones. I will, and then we'll all hop around the
table. That is, after I dance around cooking it all!

Talk to you in the New Year.

Miss Etta

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