If you don’t already know it, different geographical regions, even within the same country, have different traditions, rituals, customs, etc. that are important to them. This is something I discuss in the culture chapter in every Introduction to Sociology class. In fact, culture is defined as “the totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and behavior” (Schaefer, 2013, p. 55). Thus, I will share a little about my southern culture through a discussion of New Year’s Day food rituals before I share a healthy honey sweet potatoes recipe.
I was born and raised in a southern state in the United States. One thing we deem extremely important is to eat the proper foods on New Year’s Day. The proper foods, in my household at least, were black-eyed peas and “greens.” In fact, if you go to any grocery store in my hometown right now, you will see tables and special sections dedicated to the lucky food, black-eyed peas. After all, the grocery store managers want to ensure each southerner picks up these good luck charms. I was told black-eyed peas were not only necessary for good luck in the new year, but were also representative of pennies. (I know each family may have a slightly different story.) So, eating black-eyed peas actually helps add money to your wallet later in the year.
Another tradition is to have “greens” to ensure you will have lots of wealth in the new year. “Greens” can be collard greens, turnip greens, or mustard greens, it really doesn’t matter the type as long as you have some. In fact, those green leaves represent dollars. So, in my household, mama made sure we all had plenty of these tasty green leaves on January 1. (I guess a good tip is to avoid spending too much time with a southerner on the night of January 1 and morning of January 2 or you may be a victim of a well-known side effect of this combination of foods. Gasp!)
Lastly, my wish for you today is to have a wonderful and healthy 2017! Also, I want to share a healthy mashed honey sweet potatoes recipe with you that won’t break your budget or your waistline.
Mashed Honey Sweet Potatoes
4 jumbo sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup evaporated milk (or 2% organic milk)
salt and pepper to taste
Peel, cut, and boil the sweet potatoes until tender. Mash and add honey (or agave nectar), milk, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, mix well. (You can add more milk based on your preferred sweet potatoes texture preference.) Enjoy!
Schaefer, R. T. (2013). Sociology: A brief introduction. New York: NY: McGraw-Hill.