Chúc mừng năm mới (Vietnamese for Happy New Year).
My good friends Jack and Donna Chrisman, together with “the lassie from Lancashire” Muriel Quinn came to my home for lunch today.
Muriel hails from Oldham, Lancs. Jan 1st is her birthday, so we had a celebration of the New Year, and of a birthday.
We had such a lovely time. We were so relaxed.
And ‘cos there were but four of us we were able to listen to each other, talk to each other, and listen to each other.
I served “Hoppin’ John”. It’s a dish cooked with crispy bacon and the bacon fat , cooked with black-eyed peas, sauteed yellow onion, green pepper, celery, and seasoned with thyme, garlic, a bay leaf, and some Cajun seasoning.
Hoppin’ John is usually served over long grain rice, with a “side” of collard greens. That’s what I did today.,
It’s “traditional” in the southern USA States (of the former Confederacy) to eat black-eyed peas with collard, turnip or kale greens on New Year’s Day.
The lore is that the end of the Civil war, when the Union Army razed the Confederacy they burned many crops (a shameful act), but ignored black-eyed peas and various greens, believing them to be no better than fodder for animals.
Thus the southerners had to eke out on a diet of peas and greens. That was their ‘good luck”.
Thus there is a southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and greens in New Year’s Day for “luck in the new Year”.
Hoppin’ John is but one variant of that “good luck” meal on January 1st.
Jack and Donna are southerners from North Carolina. They pronounced that my Hoppin’ John was very good.
Muriel is a northerner (from the north of England!). She also “loved” Hoppin’ John.
I took their compliments with equanimity. After all I had done no more than to follow a recipe.
Our dessert was Key Lime Pie ice cream, made under the label of “Totally Churned”. Damn it is good. It is so good that we could indeed enjoy the authentic taste of Key Limes.
What a joy! - Table fellowship with three good friends, good folks who I had not met until I moved to SRQ in 2006.