Blackeyed Pea

Q. How did the belief that eating blackeyed peas on New Year's Day start?

A. Back in the days of the Wild West, Southern gentility, and Northern hostility, our celebrated blackeyed peas were used strictly for the feeding of cattle in the South. During the Civil War battle of Vicksburg, the town was under siege for over 40 days. No supplies went in and none came out The entire town was on the brink of starvation. So they ate those humble "cowpeas," thus starting a southern tradition. Nowadays blackeyes are eaten every New Year's Day to bring good luck for the coming year. All the way back to the days of the Pharaoh, blackeyed peas have been a symbol of luck and fortune. The superstition is that those who eat blackeyes, an inexpensive and modest food, show their humility and save themselves from the wrath of the heavens because of the vanity they might have. Blackeyed peas are neither a pea nor a bean. They are lentils. For those of you who really want to insure success by eating a quantity of blackeyed peas, try Velma Thieme's Pretty Pea- riffic Cake. The recipe is:

Velma Thieme's Pretty Pea- riffic Cake
three cups blackeyed peas, cooked (puree in blender and measure out 2 cups)
two cups flour
one-half teaspoon baking powder
two teaspoons soda
one-half teaspoon salt
one teaspoon cinnamon
one-half teaspoon allspice
three eggs
two cups sugar
three-fourths cup vegetable oil
one small four-ounce jar carrots baby food
one-half cup crushed pineapple (drained)
one-half cup cherries (chopped)
one-half cup chopped almonds
Combine flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and spices

Beat eggs, add sugar, oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in pureed peas and remaining ingredients. Pour into two round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

one cup butter or margarine
one (eight ounce) cream cheese softened
one teaspoon vanilla
two cups sifted powdered sugar
one teaspoon orange juice

If you would rather have the traditional blackeyed peas and corn bread, order the 2-pack (one can of peas and one package of corn bread plus recipes) for $14.00 (shipping and handling included) from Peas-on-Earth, 225 South Prairieville, Athens, Texas 75751 Tel: (903) 677-1639 They accept Visa and MasterCard!

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