... they're supposed to bring you good luck if you eat them*. I'm not sure if I can have a luckier year than 2008, but I'm going for the black-eyed peas anyway. I found a good recipe for Hoppin' John on this site and will be making it tomorrow.
HOPPIN' JOHNPossible photocookingblogging to follow.
From The Glory of Southern Cooking, by James Villas (Wiley, 2007).
¼ pound slab bacon, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 pounds black-eyed peas, fresh or frozen
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Hot, cooked rice
3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1. Fry the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
2. Add the peas, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the peas are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour. (It may take less time for frozen peas, so taste them after 30 minutes.)
3. Drain the peas, then serve over hot rice topped with chopped tomato.
* - there's no report of what they're supposed to do if you throw them out the window of your car as you drive on the freeway. If you do that, let me know what happens.