Black-eyed Peas, Hog Jowl & a New Year!

How could we make this New Year’s Eve more rowdy than in past years?  Perhaps go to a party to ring in the New Year?  No.  Maybe a Watchnight Service at church?  Not!  We’re Baptists after all — we don’t get THAT rowdy!  How about super-charging our night with a double sleepover with two of our boys’ friends.  That’s the ticket. There’s nothing quite like five boys — 11 and under — to pep up a New Year’s Eve celebration!

Last night, we stayed up until midnight to watch Dick Clark count down to the start of 2011.  The only problem with living in New Mexico and watching the “live” ball drop in Times Square in New York City is that it is a repeat.  Yep.  Our local ABC affiliate in Albuquerque just replays the real live event that happened in NYC for us in the Mountain Time Zone to watch two hours later.  Even though we know we are viewing recorded footage, it’s still fun to celebrate on New Year’s Eve with all the folks in Times Square.

In New Mexico, New Year’s Day is also a day of tradition, with eating taking on a distinctly Spanish/Hispanic flavor — chilies, squash, beans and corn and, Posole, made out of Posole corn, several spices and diced pork.  Now, as a southerner living in the Land of Enchantment, I have come to like green chilies and other food staples in this area of the country.  But, today is not a day for adding green chilies to any of the dishes that we are cooking.

New Year’s Day is black-eyed peas, hog jowls (with the peas and fried), homemade macaroni and cheese, fried corn fritters, and corn bread.  The fritters are about as close to the Posole as we’ll get today.  If my mom were here, we would also have a delicious orange cake made with freshly grated orange rinds.

Traditions, holiday and otherwise, are wonderful ways to link us not only to family who are spread out across the country, but also to family who are no longer with us to celebrate on these special occasions.  When I fry up the hog jowls today, I’ll think of my dad.  He was the one in our family who had that job until his death four years ago.  When I eat my black-eyed peas, I’ll remember my mom and grandparents and all those New Year’s Day pasts where we sat around the table in Lake Placid, FL, enjoying food and family.

None of can know what the rest of the day will bring into our lives much less 2011.  As we look back at the year that was and ahead to the year that will be, may we remember that, no matter what, “God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good!”  Whether you’re eating black-eyed peas and hog jowls or Posole or Cabbage, I want to wish you a blessed and prosperous new year.  May God’s abundant grace overflow to you and your family in 2011!

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