On New Year's Day, while my household was in a kind of post-holiday torpor, the front doorbell rang and the dog went into her defensive paranoia when strangers appear suddenly. When I opened the door, Nancy and Nita, our neighbors, were standing on the front steps. Behind them was a child's wagon, full of cooking dishes. One of the dishes was sending steam into the crisp January air.
Nancy handed me a paper that told the story of black-eyed peas being spared by northern troops burning Confederate crops because they thought the black-eyed peas were weeds. As a result, starving southerners had something to eat and have thus considered black-eyed peas lucky ever since, a feeling nourished by the ability of the peas to grow in the poorest of soil and leading to a superstition that has survived into two centuries.
The steam from the wagon turned out to be a pot of black-eyed peas, to which Nancy and Nita had added "cabbage for money and cornbread for love." The cabbage was slaw, and they were serving up paper dishes of any or all of their wagon load, along with their wishes for a happy and productive new year. The neighborhood had struck again.