January 2016 Menu

Traditional Southern New Year’s Day Meal

In attendance: Kate, Jesse, Devon, Matt, AJ, Megan, Emily, Trent, Ken, Les, Jamaal, Josh, Mary, Jason, Reagan and Amber.

Hello, it’s Kate. Our family is off to a good start this year as our group grows for the monthly themed meals. The chances of Jesse and I chasing everyone out the door quickly to sneak off on our own have not been easy. With January’s theme, we met early and just made a family day together. The men left the women alone for some much-needed peace. The girls played together with their Christmas presents. Bob remained patient while the girls attempted to dress him in clothes Santa brought for Amber’s doll. I’d swear Dottie had a grin on her spotted face while she watched Bob’s humiliation.

Les and Jamaal, our Southern men on the HIS team, suggested this month’s themed meal. They regaled us with the history behind the deep-rooted southern folklore (and history) behind the Traditional Southern New Year’s Day Meal. We aren’t a superstitious bunch, but there was no question what we would be eating together on January first.

It is believed that eating certain foods on New Year’s Day will bring good luck and prosperity throughout the new year. Black-eyed peas are a must and symbolize coins; Greens (Collard, Turnip, Mustard) symbolize money; Cornbread symbolizes gold; and, Pork symbolizes good luck. The men refused to eat 365 black-eyed peas (366 since 2016 is a leap year), except Les and Jamaal, as per the tradition’s recommendation.

As you know, I typically attempt one new menu item each month, but this month was a whole new ball game. Les and Jamaal took over the kitchen to ensure everything was like how their mothers’ made it. They allowed me to cook the pork per the new recipe I wanted to try, but they continued to grumble that regular ole’ pork chops would have been fine. The only real challenge in the kitchen was about how to cook the beans. The Hoppin’ John recipe has many variations to it, and Les and Jamaal both disagreed with how I was cooking them. While they argued over what should be added to it, I slipped in and finished the beans before they realized it. That aside, I enjoyed the meal preparation with those two and Emily, who tried her hand at the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. At some point, Megan slipped out to save her cat.

Here is our January 2016 menu:
Caramelized Pork Tenderloin with Apple Stuffing
Hoppin’ John
Collard Greens with Ham
Southern Style Cornbread
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
The kids had chicken nuggets, French fries, macaroni and cheese, and vanilla ice cream. This was one of those times when Jason decided he wasn’t an adult. Plates full of vegetables do strange things to kids.

February is a romantic month, and France is a romantic country so French cuisine will be our February themed meal. See you then.

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