Mom would be proud of me for refusing to give up when first I gazed upon the blackeye-pea-free bean shelves at Fred Meyer -- much as she would have done, I refused reality's first offer, considering it only a starting position from which the true bargaining should begin. Therewith I looked more, and then some more, and at last found a conspicuously open space on the upper bean shelf, and looking still more closely, spied an overturned can that had rolled almost entirely behind the cans of some other kind of bean that no one ever buys. Seizing it, I turned it over to reveal the label shown here -- Fred Meyer Blackeye Peas -- the very last can in the store on this New Year's Eve.
Hey, Fred Meyer! Have you ever noticed how your stores don't sell any blackeye peas all year long, and then sell out of them in the two or three days leading up to New Year's Day? There's a reason for that. I'm not saying there's a good reason for that -- frankly, good reasons and I have an on-again, off-again relationship -- but there is a reason, and it's good enough to move cans of black-eyed peas. To wit:
A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will attract both general good luck and financial good fortune in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.The corollary of this superstition is, of course, that not eating black-eye peas on New Year's Day brings a year of misfortune and hardship, and no one wants another of those goddamn things.
Upon this firmly reasoned basis, I encourage everyone to eat at least one black-eye peas tomorrow. I strongly recommend adding other fare to the black-eye peas because they taste terrible on their own.
* The careful reader will note that I meander from "blackeye peas," to "black-eye peas," to "black-eyed peas" -- thither, yon, hither, to, fro, back, forth, and so on. There is no logic or plan to it. Food that's this foul-tasting does not merit a consistent spelling.