Today is New Year’s Day, and so I will cook my version of a New Year’s Day meal. Here’s the menu, the recipes and the symbolism – some serious and some definitely tongue-in-cheek:
Sweet Iced Tea
1 can mild tomato/jalopena mixture (RoTel) If you like things a little spicier, use regular RoTel.
2 cans black-eyed peas
1 can diced tomatoes (optional – I love tomatoes)
1/2 lb link of turkey sausage
Cut the turkey sausage into bite-size pieces – dump everything together and cook. You can serve this over rice or mix some rice in it, or eat it by itself with no rice. It’s delicious riceless or not.
Lots of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, grated carrots, diced bell peppers with grated cheddar cheese on top.
2 cups cornmeal MIX
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, well-beaten
buttermilk (enough to make a good batter)
Pour into cast iron cornstick pans that have been sprayed with Pam and pre-heated in a 425 oven. The batter should sizzle when you pour it into the pans. Bake until golden brown. Serve hot. I like to crumble a cornstick or two into my hoppin’ john.
Sweet Iced Tea
4 family-size tea bags
1 gallon distilled water (You don’t HAVE to use distilled water, but that’s what I always use).
1 cup Splenda
Put the tea bags in a 4-cup measuring cup, fill with some of the water and microwave on high for about 6 minutes. Let it sit (steep) for about 5 minutes. Pour into a pitcher and add the remaining water to make one gallon. Add the Splenda and stir. DELICIOUS and refreshing!
The blackeyed peas in the Hoppin’ John symbolize coins – a sign of prosperity for the new year. May there be lots of that in 2007. The turkey sausage symbolizes my American heritage – the wild turkeys from the first Thanksgiving. For me, it also reminds me of the land where RT and I are building a house – dozens of wild turkeys reside there. The tomatoes and jalopenas symbolize good taste and spiciness. May I never grow too old to be spicy.
The leaves of lettuce in the salad are a symbol of folding money – currency. Again, may there be lots of that in 2007. The tomatoes remind me of the fruits of summer, the carrots for year-round bounty, and the cheese for the perfection of aging (I wish!).
The corn in the cornsticks are another symbol of my American heritage. Enough corn for good health, enough oil to smooth out the rough places in life, an egg to remind me of the newness of life, and the buttermilk to remind me that the sour places in life make the good places all the more sweet. Baking the cornsticks in cast-iron pans reminds me of what the American pioneers used in their travels cross country to explore new lands.
The iced tea is symbolic of my Southern roots. Sweet iced tea is pure Southern! The Splenda makes it something I can drink without worrying about calories. RT and I go through a gallon of this tea about every two or three days. I make several gallons every single week. I have to admit that I almost always used decaf tea so I can drink it in the evenings without worrying about it affecting my sleep.
There you have it! A New Year’s day feast with some traditional and some Carol-grown symbolism attached.