Cannibal Sandwich For New Years Eve ~ Today I Make Black Eyed Peas Instead
Has anyone else heard of these?
I can remember back when I was a child, my parents would make "cannibal sandwiches" as part of a New Year's Eve tradition. It is an German tradition, from what I was told, and is made and eaten for New Years as a holiday "treat". We lived near Milwaukee at the time, and I'm told it is a Wisconsin thing, and is not done as much in other parts of the country.
To make these sandwiches, you use extremely lean ground round, preferably that you've bought from a trusted butcher shop, or from some other trusted source. You can either mix the beef with finely chopped raw onion, or you can spread it on a piece of rye bread, then put the raw onion on afterwards. Then, sprinkle salt and pepper on it, top with another slice of rye bread, and "enjoy."
Now that I think back on it, rather than bring good luck for New Years Eve, couldn't we have ended up in the hospital? With all the cases of food poisoning we hear about these days, it seems to be kind of a risky thing to be eating. I guess that's why you'd get the leanest ground round that you could find, and only from a place you had trusted to keep things clean in the processing.
I wondered if anyone still does this today? I stopped this "tradition" long ago, but I vaguely remember it as a child growing up in the 1960s. These days, if I were to enjoy ground beef on bread, it would be in the form of a cooked hamburger on a bun. I sure don't miss this, but I did remember it when I was thinking of foods for New Year's Eve that supposedly bring "good luck."
Creole rice with sausage, shrimp or chicken and black eyed peas
I like having black eyed peas for New Years Day much better!
One thing I DO enjoy today is making a dish with black eyed peas to bring good luck on New Year's Day. I've heard that the traditional way to do this is to make something called "Hoppin' John" using some kind of pork, bacon, ham hock, or similar meat. It is cooked (slow simmered) with the black eyed peas, along with some onion and seasonings.
This tradition is said to have originated in the Southeast United States during Civil War days, mostly in Georgia and the Carolina's. When troops were going through the farmers fields, crops were destroyed in the process, but often, the black eyed peas were left alone, and provided nourishment for soldiers. The New Year's Day tradition calls for eating 365 black eyed peas first thing New Years Day, or soon after midnight.
Black eyed peas are great nutritionally. They provide potassium, fiber and iron, and in addition, they have no cholesterol, are low fat, and can provide enough protein to be substituted for one serving of meat. All great reasons to enjoy black eyed peas no matter what day of the year it is!
The way I make them is to mix them into a cajun rice type dish. You can either make it from scratch, using chopped peppers, pinch of garlic, onion and some chopped tomato. Cook in about a tablespoon of hot vegetable oil until tender (if using meat, cook the meat first then add vegetables), mix in some seasonings, about 1/4 tsp. of red pepper, or even a prepared cajun seasoning to taste, add water and rice and cook until rice is tender and fluffy.
However, a much easier way to do this is to use a pre-packaged cajun rice. That's the way I usually do it these days, then I add either sausage slices, shrimp, or even cooked chicken to the rice, and then I add the black eyed peas.
As if using pre packaged cajun rice isn't lazy enough, I also use canned black eyed peas in the recipe, simply drain them and then add them towards the end of the cooking to warm them up. As we've gotten older, and have fewer people in the house to feed, it makes sense to take advantage of some of the pre packaged options out there. I find we have less leftovers for one thing, that's always a good thing when there are only two of you to eat them. And, we still get to have black eyed peas for New Year's Day. I serve this along with some cornbread... yumm!!
I know my husband might roll his eyes at having black eyed peas AGAIN... but hey, I am just a bit superstitious and feel like we all could use all the "good luck" we can get in the New Year! So, pop the cork on some champagne, cook up some black eyed peas, and have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!