Many people celebrate the beginning of each new year with time-honored traditions to start the new year off on the right foot. The symbolism of certain foods make them perfect for a New Year’s Day meal. Here is a Souther New Year’s Day meal, along with the recipes and symbolism.

Menu
Hoppin’ John
Tossed Salad
Cornsticks
Sweet Iced Tea

As you reflect on the past year and ponder the year yet to be, continue to the next page to read all about the recipes and symbolism that will start off the new year on the right foot.

Recipes

Hoppin’ John

1 can mild tomato/jalopena mixture (RoTel) If you like things a little spicier, use regular RoTel.
2 cans black-eyed peas
1 can diced tomatoes (optional – I love tomatoes)
1/2 lb link of turkey sausage

Cut the turkey sausage into bite-size pieces – dump everything together and cook. You can serve this over rice or mix some rice in it, or eat it by itself with no rice. It’s delicious riceless or not.

Tossed Salad

Lots of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, grated carrots, diced bell peppers with grated cheddar cheese on top.

Cornbread Sticks

2 cups cornmeal MIX
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, well-beaten
buttermilk (enough to make a good batter)

Pour into cast iron cornstick pans that have been sprayed with Pam and pre-heated in a 425 oven. The batter should sizzle when you pour it into the pans. Bake until golden brown. Serve hot. I like to crumble a cornstick or two into my hoppin’ john.

Sweet Iced Tea

4 family-size tea bags
1 gallon distilled water (You don’t HAVE to use distilled water, but that’s what I always use).
1 cup Splenda

Put the tea bags in a 4-cup measuring cup, fill with some of the water and microwave on high for about 6 minutes. Let it sit (steep) for about 5 minutes. Pour into a pitcher and add the remaining water to make one gallon. Add the Splenda and stir. DELICIOUS and refreshing!

SYMBOLISM

The blackeyed peas in the Hoppin’ John symbolize coins – a sign of prosperity for the new year. May there be lots of that in 2009. The turkey sausage symbolizes our American heritage – the wild turkeys from the first Thanksgiving. The tomatoes and jalopenas symbolize good taste and spiciness. May we never grow too old to be spicy!

The leaves of lettuce in the salad are a symbol of folding money – currency. Again, may there be lots of that in 2009. The tomatoes remind us of the freshness of summer, the carrots for year-round bounty, and the cheese for the perfection of aging.

The corn in the cornsticks is another symbol of our American heritage. Enough corn for good health, enough oil to smooth out the rough places in life, an egg to remind us of the newness of life, and the buttermilk to remind us that the sour places in life make the good places all the more sweet. Baking the cornsticks in cast-iron pans reminds us of what the American pioneers used in their travels cross country to explore new lands.

The iced tea is symbolic of Southern roots. Sweet iced tea is pure Southern! The Splenda makes it something you can drink without worrying about calories.

There you have it! A New Year’s day feast with some traditional and some home-grown symbolism attached.