Tradition says that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will bring you good luck. This is something that comes from the American South, and I know that other cultures also have their good luck traditions.
In Scotland, the first person who enters your house on New Years should be tall, dark and handsome. Red-heads are considered bad luck. Noisemakers and fireworks are believed to drive away the evil spirits. In Italy, lentils, which looked like old Italian currency, are eaten to bring riches.
But Hoppin' John, with its black-eyed peas, rice and pork, is the dish of choice around my house. I took the easy way out yesterday when I made it with canned black-eyed peas and rice in a pouch. I had two parties within a few hours, so didn't have time to simmer the beans for hours.
Here's the recipe: Saute a diced onion and green pepper until the onions are translucent. Cook about six pieces of bacon or some pork sausage, using the same pan. Add black-eyed peas, rice and simmer for 10 minutes. If you want, add some Tabasco or other seasoning. I saw a Hoppin' John salad which also looked interesting.
Happy New Year!