OUTLOOK: How to enjoy Black-Eyed Peas in the New Year

Published 4:00 am Sunday, January 2, 2022

It’s out with the old and in with the new — new year, that is.

And with just hours before the clock strikes midnight and the world ushers in 2022, locals have been scrambling to grocery stores around town making sure they have the traditional Southern fare that is thought to bring good luck for the coming year. For locals, that includes black-eyed peas, cabbage and hog jowls.

“They use the hog jowls to put in their cabbage,” Sullivan’s Grocery manager Larry Ferguson said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Ferguson, along with Morgan’s Supermarket owner Cynthia Morgan, said he knows there will be a run on these three food items. In an effort to have enough supply for the demand, both businesses order extras this time of year.

“We have to order a lot more,” Morgan said, of black-eyed peas, cabbage and hog jowls. “And we still run out every year.”

This year, Morgan said, she ordered an extra bin of cabbage — “a bin like the pumpkins come on,” and an extra pallet of dried black-eyed peas.

“I ordered two more bins of cabbage than I did last year,” Ferguson said. “And 10 more cases of black-eyed peas.

While the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for luck is thought to have begun in the South — black-eyed peas are what saved families from starving after Union Troops had left them behind, thinking they were animal fodder — the tradition of eating the legume on New Year’s Day actually dates back much further.

According to organicauthority.com, the black-eyed peas are mentioned in the Talmud, an ancient Babylonian text, circa 500 CE.

The website states, “Black-eyed peas were eaten on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.”

Hopefully, those who want to follow tradition and cook some black-eyed peas for the New Year, hopefully they have secured their stash from either store shelves or in the frozen food section.

For those interested in recipes that incorporate black-eyed peas in a dish, here are a couple to choose from out of local cookbooks.


Black-Eyed Pea Cornbread (Ambrosia Cookbook)

1 (15.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas seasoned with bacon and jalapeno pepper, do not drain

1 cup cornmeal

½ cup flour

1 teaspoon soda

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup oil

½ pound cheddar cheese, grated

1 onion, chopped

¾ cup cream-style corn

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

Picante sauce

Mix all ingredients except Picante sauce. Pour into a greased 9x13x2 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool about 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into squares to serve. Top each square with Picante sauce if desired.

Texas Caviar (The Trinity Cookbook)

1 can (16 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained

1/3 medium red bell pepper, diced

¼ cup minced red onion

½ cup finely chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons tomato juice

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper (2 medium peppers)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1.2 teaspoon ground cumin

1.2 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

8-10 servings

May substitute ½ cup picante sauce for the tomatoes and juice.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart