Welcoming the New Year with a Southern Tradition, recipe re-envisioned.

Upon consuming my 4th or 5th bowl of cabbage and peas and rice recently, I paused, why do I presently have this boundless craving for cabbage and peas?  I’d made a huge pot cabbage and peas (chick peas); red cabbage—-beautiful, everything turned purple.  The more of it I ate, the more I wanted.  And it struck me that cabbage and peas—black-eyed, to be exact—are certainly a tradition in many households in the south, said to bring good luck and prosperity into the new year.  Upon reflection, I realized that this dish delivers on its promise in a few key ways.  I had unwittingly adopted the tradition in my semi-domestic, graduate student life and have been reaping the rewards.

I found myself loving some cabbage and beans after coming off a New Year’s detox.  I had been eating veggies and beans, and drinking veggie juice for about a week.  I had started to bite into an appreciation for the innate, personality-filled flavor of every veggie I came across.  And then school’s busy schedule kicked in.  I had travel days without the convenience of making food myself, and things went a little out of kilter very quickly. By the time I got home and got groceries, cabbage and peas were my goto.

Here’s my short-list of reasons, or an ode to cabbage and peas:

Cabbage is plentiful
Peas are cheap
Eat these often
And your wallet will reap.
Cabbage is healthy
Peas are hefty
Eat these often
You’ll flatten your belly
Peas are salty
Cabbage is sweet
The more you partake
Your cravings you’ll beat
Cabbage is green
Like cash
Or purple royale
Peas are like dreams
Ready to seed
Now here’s a bowl
Of good tidings
That’s rich indeed.

The wisdom of grandmother tales and food traditions so often links back to some keys to good health.  Cabbage and peas, with some unadulterated rice, make a well balanced meal that’s easy on the budget.  Here’s a little nutritional info on cooked red cabbage, on the Self Magazine Nutrition website. I think it’s a pretty cool resource to check on the composition and health qualities of foods you commonly come across.

My cook-up incorporated onions, garlic, mustard seed, tumeric, salt and pepper, both black and red.  One tip… don’t waste the stock, it’s a nice veggie juice boost of minerals!

I made some brown rice (after soaking it overnight to run off any enzymes that make it hard to digest) to eat with my cabbage dish. Brown rice is also super-awesome, nutritionally.  And it fills you up good.

So simple and satisfying… a great way to bring in the New Year!

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About C. Sala Hewitt

C. Sala Hewitt
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