Every year I try to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day. They say it is supposed to give you good luck for the rest of the year. I figure if I keep doing this every year, it might actually work sometime?

The thing I enjoy about New Year’s Day as much as the Black Eyed Peas is also watching the Rose Bowl each year. This is a tradition I have been doing even long before I started doing the Black Eyed Pea thing. I have seen many great games and performances over the years in the Rose Bowl, including the year that Oklahoma first played in that bowl game against Washington State, 2003 I believe? That was something I thought I would never see, as the Rose Bowl has always been a traditional Big 10 versus Pac 12 matchup. But like everything else in life, things change with time, as the Sooners would make their second appearance in the game a couple of years ago against Georgia, on a New Year’s Eve if I remember right?

Many other New Year’s traditions have changed for me over the years as well. One being, I can’t remember the last time I was awake to ring in the New Year? Unless, it was because I was woke up by some neighbor shooting off fireworks at midnight. Now days, I never know from year to year what I will be doing on New Year’s Eve, besides sleeping? But it wasn’t always that way.

For many years, I was out amongst them every New Year’s Eve. Whether it be at a private party or a public gathering somewhere. I remember New Year’s Eve 1974, when my future wife and I went to ring in the New Year at the Ranch (dance hall) in Galena, Kansas. In the years following, we would spend many New Year Eve’s together at different places. Oddly enough, the last one I can remember her and I going out together on New Year’s Eve, was in 2010, when we drove to Grove for a late afternoon movie, dinner afterwards, and was home by 9:00 pm. The movie we saw that New Year’s Eve was the remake of “True Grit,” which in turn, would be the last movie we would ever see together. I remember she slept through most of it, and I would have to nudge her every now and then if she would start to snore, which she always claimed she never did.

So now when the New Year comes around, there are only two things I know for sure I will be doing, eating Black Eyed Peas and watching the Rose Bowl, and that is OK with me, as I still have a little excitement left in my New Year’s celebration. One being is what will I be doing on New Year’s Eve, if anything and how will I prepare my Black Eyed Peas? Yes, just like most of my cooking, I never know for sure how I am going to prepare something until I actually start. I have posted a Black Eyed Pea recipe today that I’ve used in the past, but until I actually start preparing them, I never know for sure how I am going to make them. A lot of it depends on what I have on hand and the mood I’m in, which nowadays since I don’t stay out half the night on New Year’s Eve, I’m usually in a pretty good mood and don’t sleep through much of the Rose Bowl, like has happened in the past, from my younger days. If I’m in a REALLY good mood, I have even been known to have a glass of wine, or mix me a drink to enjoy with my peas and Rose Bowl Game. After all, it is a New Year’s celebration!

Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients

1 ham hock

1 pound dried black-eyed peas

1 box chicken stock

1 tablespoon bacon grease

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 Roma tomato, small diced

1 tsp chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Water

Directions

Rinse and soak the Black-eyed peas 4 hours to overnight

In a pot or Dutch oven, melt bacon grease; add onion, red pepper, and jalapeno, sauté until soft.

Add garlic, tomato, and sauté for another couple of minutes

Pour chicken stock to the pot; add the black eyed peas, ham hock, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover.

Cook on medium heat until peas and ham hock are done, adding water as needed

Remove ham hock from the pot and shred and reserve ham pieces

Add ham pieces back to the pot, stir in salt and pepper to taste, serve with cornbread