Old Tradition for a New Year

cash money

In keeping with tradition, I ate collards and black-eyed peas yesterday. The collards represent cash money, and the black-eyed peas represent coins. By eating them on New Year’s day, I’ll supposedly bring in a lot of cash and coins this upcoming year.

I grew two types of collards this fall: southern and Vates’. The southern collards are the ones I remember growing up, and by remember I mean remember smelling. The smell of cooking collards can linger in the air and memory, and it was this pungent smell that deterred me from eating them. When I’ve actually worked up the nerve to eat collards, I can say they taste a lot better than they smell, though I still prefer black-eyed peas on New Year’s day.

Both the southern and Vates’ collards grew well, and both made it through several hard frosts to New Year’s day. Last year, our neighbor grew a big garden of greens, but he lost most of the greens early because it was such a cold winter. Southern collards have thick, leathery leaves and are renown for their hardiness, but the Vates’ collards have also withstood the cold nights.

As far as taste goes, I wasn’t able to tell much difference in taste between the two varieties. The biggest difference was in appearance. The Vates’ collards have a crinkly leaf margin and the southern collards have a smooth, spinach-like leaf margin and texture. To most people though, a collard is a collard, and you either love them or hate them–regardless of the variety.

Southern collard on left; Vates collard on right

4 thoughts on “Old Tradition for a New Year

  1. I just boiled them. They didn’t taste bitter at all after I boiled them, so I didn’t bother frying them. Maybe it was because of the frost that they didn’t taste bitter.

  2. Do you find that “traditions” typically have us eating things that aren’t that tasty as an attempt to pass them off as good luck? Some slovak foods I have had over the holidays are like this (sauerkraut soup, etc). I recall my great-grandmother trying to get me to drink the juice from the sauerkraut jar for “good luck”….. or just a good clean out.

    1. hmmm you know, I never thought about that before – but you have a good point!

      My family doesn’t really have any particular food traditions…..unless you count the cheesecake we eat every Christmas!

      I’d be rather reluctant to drink sauerkraut juice…..unless you could guarantee that I’d win the next Powerball lottery – then I’d drink as much of that stuff as I could possibly hold!


      ps – that is cool that you knew your great-grandmother….I knew 3 of my great grandparents and one great-great grandmother….I don’t often run across other people that knew theirs too.

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