Friday, January 1, 2010

Let's try this again

A year ago I hoped that 2009 would be better than 2008. And it was in many ways. Thing is that when I said that, I meant no more relatives dying. Lesson learned? The universe needs clear, concise directions. So let me be clear this time. No more death. I'd like to continue climbing out of this hole that I have been in over the last couple of years and move on with living.

I am the child of superstitious Southerners. Some of those superstitions I hold close to my heart. They are a part of my core of being. One of these states that whatever you are doing on New Year's Day will set the tone for the rest of your year. Over the last few years I have chosen to interpret this as that I should be doing things that I enjoy -- reading, cooking, relaxing. Therefore, I go through great pains in the week leading up to New Year's to ensure that my home is clean so that I will not feel obligated to do anything other than the dishes. And nothing says relaxation like a nice bubble bath.

The final tradition has to do with food. I am a Southerner at heart and so must have pork, black eyed peas and some sort of greens to start off my New Year. (This past week I came across this article on various lucky foods around the world.)

My parents are truly traditionalists. Pork means pig's feet, ears, tails, chitterlings and/or neckbones. (The only one those that I will consume is neckbones.) And my mother feels that black eyed peas must be accompanied by rice. Thing is I don't really like rice. Never have. Although I do like brown rice.

So each year I make sure that I have those three foods. And each year I move a bit further away from the traditional preparation of them. This year I had thought of making the stuffed pork chops once more but then I came across this pork loin roast and bells went off. For many years I have done pork loin roast with a stuffing of sauteed onions, bread crumbs and fresh herbs. Why couldn't I just butterfly the roast and instead stuff it with a mixture of blue cheese and pecans? And the drippings could make the base of a lovely sauce. But then I realized that it really needed something sweet to counter the bite of the blue cheese. Answer? A pear apple chutney. Finishing off the plate is a mixture of black eyed peas with mustard greens and chard. That's right. I combined them. Because this dish alone makes a lovely vegetarian entree. It may not be pretty but it was damn tasty. And I also know that I have done everything in my power to make sure this year will be OK.

But I still worry. Now that I've done it all right, will universe understand me this year?


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