Today one must eat black-eyed peas with rice, cabbage, ham and cornbread. One must eat these foods to remain in good standing in the I AM A SOUTHERNER rulebook. Therefore, the menu today for the mid-day meal will be:
Black-eyed peas (use canned peas b/c the fresh peas take too long to cook) seasoned with bits of ham.
Long grain rice cooked the traditional way which means no electric rice cooker, no quick or instant rice.
Steamed cabbage with sauteed onion, green pepper and garlic added. My steamed cabbage with raisins and apples was considered quite compelling for several years but no one asks for it anymore. Use pepper, a bunch of it on cabbage. No cabbage rolls with meat rolled up in the leaves. Too much trouble. This is a vegetable not another opportunity to use meat.
Ham, spiral sliced and heated.
Cornbread. First the crusty cornbread baked in a black cast iron frying pan, then the more contemporary cornbread with canned corn baked in a deep dish.
These foods represent good fortune and wealth. I can't remember what exactly they each represent but this meal is eaten by my people on New Year's Day every year whether we want to eat it or not. One may mess with the Christmas Day menu or even the Easter Day menu. One may NOT mess with this menu.
God bless you in the New Year and always.