Thursday, January 22, 2009


More of the 2009 musings.....I'll be done soon....I hope. Starting a new year always tends to make one look back at the past and not necessarily intentionally. I usually take stock of things from the past year but for some reason....age maybe....I'm really thinking way back in the past at times and it comes at odd moments. I mentioned before about driving down the highway and reliving Thanksgivings of the past. This is odd for me, I usually don't dwell on nostalgia. Papa is the one who really enjoys reliving his past and he remembers so far back and the tiniest details.

My flashback started around New Year's Day. It's traditional to eat either Black-Eyed Peas or Sardines on New Years. My research found: Some say the black-eyed pea's lucky streak dates back to the pharaohs. Others say it started in Vicksburg, Virginia, during the Civil War when the town ran out of food while under siege and the inhabitants were lucky enough to discover cow peas (a.k.a., black-eyed peas. Another old saying goes, "Eat peas on New Year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year. My sardine research turns up that this is a Japanese custom...small, dried sardines=good harvest. That's the end of your lesson for today.

Myself, I can't stand to look at the cans containing sardines. I remember a summer babysitting job when I was 14 years old, I had to walk about a mile to this house and watch a boy and a girl that were elementary school age. By the time I arrived at their house each morning, they were just getting up. The little girl would fix herself a bowl of cereal and sit at the table and eat. The little boy, however, always opened a can of sardines (nothing small and dried about them--they were in some sort of mustard sauce if I remember correctly, and quite messy), plopped himself in front of the tv and proceeded to eat those things right out of the can while watching cartoons. He would hold the sardine by its tail above his head, opening his mouth, and dropping it in. He looked like a baby bird eating. And he did this every morning.... all summer long. I have never in my life had a sardine and never will after witnessing this for three months straight.

So you aren't about to get one of those in me but I do try to make a pot of black-eyed peas every New Year's Day. I really don't care for them, at least the way I make them, but my Grandma could make them taste so delicious. She also had a way with pinto beans.

So just before New Year's Day, I'm at the store, in the bean aisle looking for a simple can of black-eyed peas. Those bags of beans make enough for a small army and I was just getting over the mass quantities of food I had around at Christmas. So a can was all I helping of the blasted things, I hoped, would stave off all the bad luck that might be aimed for me in 2009.

Found my black-eyed peas for New Year's Day and also grabbed a few cans of pinto beans, a box of cornbread and a bag of potatoes for dinner that night. I'm buying all this stuff and imaging how it would taste and salivating and it wasn't until I had dinner just about finished that I actually had my first thought of my Grandma.

See how the past sneaks up on you. I'm buying stuff unconsciously wanting that particular mouth-watering southern, artery clogging fried potatoes, pinto beans (minus the chow-chow---this link explains exactly what chow-chow is to you Northerners guess I'll have to give this a try now--and Elders beware, this person made so much they gave it away as Christmas gifts!!)

Anyway, in lieu of chow-chow, beans can be covered in catsup, and lastly, cornbread slathered with butter. A meal that I had had in the my Grandma's house and for a minute I was right back there with her in her kitchen. I could almost hear her talking and smell the food cooking, and and then just as fast, I was back in my house making dinner for Papa and I. But I would like to think I had a little extra help in the kitchen that night because dinner was awfully good.

(and we did have our black eyed peas on New Year's Day so our luck is protected---knock on wood)

Signing off.....Grammy

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