When I was growing up my Dad would make us eat black eyed peas each year on New Year's Day. He swore it was good luck and all but threatened the world would end if we didn't eat some. Being a suspicious and generally paranoid child I obligingly swallowed one every year as if it were a pill, though I did so with some degree of fuss and consternation. It's not that I didn't care for the taste (truth be told, I had no idea what they really tasted like) it was the fact that the word 'eye' was in their name and that was more than enough to gross me out. By the time I was on my own and no longer spending New Year's with my parents I gave up on the black eyed peas altogether, though my Dad never failed to ask each year if I'd eaten any. "It's good luck, you know," he'd say in a tone that indicated a warning. Whatever. Those creepy little peas, or beans, or whatever they were, repulsed me enough to risk it.
But then 2006 hit and it was a rotten year. My work, my personal life and even my health were terrible. By the time New Year's Eve rolled around I was so depressed that I could hardly celebrate at all. I was just glad to be able to say goodbye to 2006. The next day, possessed by desperation and a hangover, I marched down to the grocery store to buy a can of my old nemesis, the black eyed peas. But when I got to the store I was slightly panicked to find that the shelves where they were supposed to be were bare. Apparently people other than my Dad believed in the myth, too.
I drove to two more stores before I finally found some. I then went straight home, cooked them up using the recipe on the back of the can and ate two bowls full. To my surprise, they were quite good. When my friend Robin came over I made her eat a bowl, too.
Now, I'm not saying that 2007 was the best year of my life so far because of the peas. That would be silly to base an entire year's success on a couple bowls of vegetables. But life is strange and just in case there really is something to it, I've already bought my stock for this New Year's Day.
This is the recipe I use. Give it a try and enjoy!
Heat two table spoons of olive oil in a pan on low heat
Add four chopped cloves of garlic and sauté on low for one to two minutes
Add one to two teaspoons of powdered sage
Add one can of diced tomatoes, drained and simmer for five to ten minutes
Finally, add one can of drained black eyed peas and simmer
Salt and pepper to taste