Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Pork And The Pea

The true Southerner is a funny character with many peculiar habits. Most of us like to hunt and fish. We all talk funny, have gun racks and drink ice cold Miller. Oh I might pop a Shiner every now and then but I've managed to keep Miller in business for many years.

One of our most unusual tastes is for our friend the pig. In fact, it would be an accurate statement that I've probably fried more bacon than any other household in East Texas. I've got a number ten skillet so black from pork fat it shines like a mirror made from wet tar and I'm happy to say I'll  be heating the iron once more as I prepare for the New Year's tradition of black-eyed peas.

I think a true Southern cook would find it most interesting that this custom dates back to the Babylonian Talmud compiled around 500 CE which was like a book of rules or laws for the Jewish community. Within it were recommendations of eating certain symbolic foods that were thought to bring good luck.

"Now that you have established these good-luck symbols, you should make it a habit on your table on the New Year."

Qara (squash)
Rubiya (black-eyed peas)
Kartei (kind of like an onion)
Silka (beets or spinach)
Tamrei (dates)

Knowing this, I'll have to ask all my Jewish friends to look away as I'll be adding Porky to the table like any good Southerner would. I'm so sorry my Jewish brothers and sisters but you just can't cook black-eyed peas without pork.

From the table of Paula Deen, I bring you...

Spicy Black-Eyed Peas


4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas, washed
1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water


In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, crumble, and set aside to use as a topping for the peas. Saute the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the peas, diced tomatoes and green chiles, salt, chili powder, pepper and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender. Add additional water, if necessary. Serve garnished with crumbled bacon.

Aside from the luck the black-eyed peas will hopefully bring you this year, I wish you the best for a healthy and profitable 2012. 

From me to you, Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. As a Jewish friend of yours, i firmly say... add the swine! I mean, if god wanted us to be kosher, why did he make bacon so delicious?