Just Plain Cabbage or Collard Greens
Three Greens Salad with Cauliflower (p.58)
Green Tomato Pickles (p.65)
Chili Con Queso (p.15)
Fritos and chips/crackers
Chili Sauce Dip (p.15)
Veggies for dipping
Cheese Drops (p.13)
Pecan Crispies (p.217)
If needing a small family meal instead, Southern tradition states you must serve black-eyed peas, cabbage or collard greens, and ham. See note below.
For the New Year's Day party, this usually begins at game time around noon. Heavy hors d'oeuvres can be served as the day goes along. Put dinner on the buffet for easy pick-up and, so as not to miss any games, lap-eating eating in front of the TV!
In the South, the traditional New Year's Day meal must include black-eyed peas, cabbage or collard greens, and ham. These three foods are thought to make a person healthy, wealthy and wise for the coming year. This tradition has been going on so long, that I've forgotten some of the meanings. I guess this also goes back to my line, "my mother always did it" and it never crossed my mind to ask my mother why we ate this combination every New Year's Day.
The black-eyed peas are the healthy part. Since they are of the legume family, then that certainly points to the health benefits of them. But from a historical standpoint, and far more interesting, the black-eyed pea crops were one of the few crops not destroyed by the union armies during the Civil War. They were considered junk crops by the unionists and used mostly as feed for livestock. But the Southerners cooked 'em up right and survived off of black-eyed peas. Surviving would certainly come under the "healthy" category if you ask me.
Cabbage or collard greens represent money or wealth because of their green color.
And ham, well I'm not quite sure why that would come under the wise category. Maybe because it's a wise use of a product since it's so multifunctional in this case. You can use the ham bone or other parts of the ham to cook and season the greens and black-eyed peas as well as serve the carved ham as the main course.
I have no idea what will happen if you don't eat black-eyed peas, cabbage and ham on New Year's Day because I have never dared to tempt such fate. Plus, my mother always did it.