December 2010

New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

by Suzanne on December 29, 2010

I have never heard so much hatin’ in my life over such a little thing. My mom, bless her heart, wanted so badly to impress some relatives of my dad’s from the upper Midwest that were coming to visit one year. They had never been to our house and everything had to be just perfect. Real southern hospitality and good, down-home southern cooking. According to my mom, she served a steak that was born and raised right there in Hereford, Texas. She also made some fresh green beans, fresh corn and fresh black-eyed peas. And a coconut cream pie for dessert – probably fresh coconut because I remember her opening and grating her own many times. I believe there was also fresh homemade yeasty rolls, too, if memory serves me. Which, it usually doesn’t. I am a pawn to my own memory. It mocks me now. So, in come the relatives, the table is set and everyone is seated. Mom is proud as punch. As everyone looks around the table and the bowls start being passed around, one of the guests says, “What is this?” while pointing to the black-eyed peas. “Well, those are home-grown black-eyed peas that I got from a farmer friend of ours just this morning”, says Mom. “Oh. We don’t eat pig food”, says the guest. Didn’t try it, didn’t just say they didn’t care for it. They called black-eyed peas PIG FOOD! What nerve! I know for a fact that pigs eat a lot of things. That’s why my Mamaw and Papaw called it “pig slop”. It was all the leftovers and items that we would now be scraping into our compost pile that went in to making the pig slop. And I’m sure at some point, black-eyed peas were included. I also know that black-eyed peas ARE fed to pigs, but I didn’t know they were exclusively “pig food”. Corn, too, but we ALL eat corn. Don’t we? You see, during the Civil War, the soldiers from the North, although hungry, marched right on through the fields of black-eyed peas and corn because they were considered food for livestock. The boys from the South, however, took advantage and satisfied their hunger with these nutritious little gems. To call my mom’s lovingly prepared black-eyed peas “pig food” was almost more than she could take. And Daddy was mortified that anyone would insult Mom’s cooking like […]