Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Luck & Money

A cold, foggy day out there, but I've got my black-eyed peas, my rice, my greens and my cornmeal. Which means I'll be set for making Hoppin' John, greens, and cornbread, for good luck and money (cornbread for gold, greens for folding money) on New Year's Day. Now, I just need to decide if I'm going the ham-hock route for the hoppin' john (always tastier, although smoked paprika--Spanish pimenton--works too), and pick up some more garlic & lemon for the greens (since I like them quickly steamed and then mixed with sauteed garlic and lemon juice in the California way, not boiled-to-khaki as traditionally they would be in the South) plus buttermilk for the cornbread.

Such are my Southern roots that I can't remember a New Year's Day where I didn't have black-eyed peas and cornbread. Maybe not in Italy, where the New Year's foods were lentils and zampone (a whole stuffed pig's foot) or a particular kind of fat sausage. I do remember going to the Carrefour on New Year's Eve day and coming home with a pannetone the size of a football helmet for 1 euro. We rang in the New Year in Bologna's main square, crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with every inhabitant in the city as prosecco bottle missiles rained overhead. In the morning, we made coffee and pannetone French toast--the perfect way to start anew.

I love taking a long walk on New Year's Day--I remember E. and I walking all over the city one chilly green January 1, cresting Randall Rock and running into friends old and new all along the way.

Out with the old, in with the new. Leave the regrets behind and face the challenges with glee.

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