Family gets together for black-eyed peas and cornbread every New Year's Day

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11 2012 4:04 p.m. MST

Every New Year's Day my family gets together at my grandmother's house and has a meal of black-eyed peas and cornbread in milk. It's a tradition that's been passed down in my family for over 40 years.

My grandma, being born and raised in Texas, started this tradition in our family.

Every year my grandma pours heaping amounts of black-eyed peas into our bowls. When everyone has been served, we all take a bite of the peas in unison. "The more peas you eat," we were told, "the more good luck you will have during the new year."

I remember as a child turning my nose up at those peas. My grandmother always chided me, saying, “You are doomed for bad luck this year!” This was a big enough threat to get me to eat at least one spoonful of the beans.

I always looked forward to the cornbread portion of the meal. It would drown out the gross aftertaste of those peas. I would pour myself a cup of cold milk and crumble the cornbread inside. If cornbread brought good luck, I would always have eaten enough to be lucky for the rest of my life. Too bad it was the peas that brought the good fortune.

After the meal, my grandmother pours everyone a glass of sparkling cider. We then go around the table and tell everyone one of our New Years resolutions.

As an adult, I cannot get enough black-eyed peas. If they really bring you good luck, I don’t mind eating bucketfuls of them.

Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.