Yesterday we veered a little away from southern New Year's tradition, and maybe started our own new one!
The typical southern New Year's meal, at least for my southern family, is hog jowl, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. And I don't mean anything from a can or freezer bag! The collards must be fresh, cooked all morning (which really smells up the house, you know), and laced with bacon grease. The hog jowl must be sliced thin and broiled. The black eyed peas must by soaked overnight and cooked (with a slice of hog jowl for flavor). And the potatoes must be peeled, boiled, mashed, etc.
Let me tell you, it is dee-lish-ous in a big way, but it is an all morning effort. Something along the lines of Thanksgiving. And honestly, my own little family is not so dedicated to it that they'd miss it. They do like collards, but canned is ok. Black-eyed peas are fine, but canned is ok. Hog jowl? well, if I fix it, they'll eat it, but they aren't going to request it or anything.
My parents lived with us for 3 years, and during that time my mom taught me how to do the New Year's meal. And I did it each of those years. But now that it's just our little family, I decided to ditch it :-) Remember, this is the year of my becoming strong! And that includes standing up to family traditions that I don't want to keep! Ha! How invigorating is that??
Instead, we had (canned) collards, (canned) black eyed peas, and ---TA DA-- shrimp and grits! And it was really wonderful. The grits were creamy, the shrimp just right, and everyone liked it. In fact, My Man suggested we should fix the shrimp and grits for company some time. THAT is a recommendation in my house!
I'm thinking we'll repeat the menu next year, too. As for the collards and peas, next year I'll probably at least do frozen instead of canned :-)