Rules for Staying Young
1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society--the social ramble ain't restful.
5. Avoid running at all times.
6. And don't look back--something might be gaining on you.
Satchel Paige, American Negro League & MLB All-Star, 1906-1982
Happy New Year! This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and Watch Night tradition observed in many African American communities of faith, and Haiti celebrates 209 years of independence. While New Year's Day is shrouded by the rapt history of slavery and independence, it's also a day of revelry, merriment, and superstitions.
Here are a few of my family's quirky New Year's Day superstitions: 1.) My mom never washes clothes on the last Friday of the year because she might wash someone out of the family. 2.) The first person to enter/visit the house in the new year must be a male. In my hometown, people are actually turned away over this one, resulting in frantic phone calls to men in the community. My dad would be out at the crack of dawn, making his round of early morning visits, and his brothers and friends of the family would stop by our house as well. My dad, who loves hosting, would usually break out the booze (which included muscadine wine and moonshine) for the special occasion. 3.) All Christmas lights and decorations must be taken down before the new year. Otherwise, you might as well leave them up for the rest of the year. Mom was always pretty adamant about this one. 4.) And my personal favorite are the food superstitions. It doesn't get any more southern than chomping on black-eyed peas for good luck and money, leafy greens to bring money (dollar bills), and cornbread for wealth. I've also seen this simplified to the phrase "peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold."
In some cultures, fish is also eaten on New Year's Day for abundance in the new year. So, I expanded on my family's tradition and brought in the new year with black-eyed peas, kale, cornbread, and sudado (Peruvian fish stew). I loved eating this fish stew over jasmine rice. You will noticed that my stew is green and the one from the original recipe (see link below) is red. That's because I used green jalapeno peppers instead of red chiles.
Get the recipe for Sudado here: http://www.baconismagic.ca/food/my-first-love-affair-in-peru/