Black Eyed Peas

Black eyed peas are a traditional southern dish. On January 1st of every New Year my Nana (grandmother) would make a large pot of them for our family. She always told me that they were for good luck, that’s what she learned from her relatives who lived in the south, Virginia. If you ate them they would bring you a prosperous new year ahead. She would also make cornbread and baked chicken to go along with them. The peas swell when they cook so that represents prosperity, the cornbread represented gold coins, adding more monetary value to the superstition and sometimes she made collard greens which represented green paper money. I also learned because they looked like coins people believed they would again bring good luck. Seeing her happy made everything better. Cooking this treasure together solidified our bond; during the cooking process I always learned new things about her life and the importance of soul food in our culture; it was the food slaves would cook. They had to make the most of what they had and that developed into some of the most delicious food ever, it wasn’t healthy but that was the leftover food the slave owners did not want so the slaves made it taste good. I am grateful my Nana shared this knowledge with me and also glad it was carried down generation to generation in my family. I haven’t made Black Eyed Peas since her passing but maybe this coming year I will make some just to keep her memory alive.

Year: 1960

– Sierra Phillips

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant