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Cannibal Sandwich For New Years Eve ~ Today I Make Black Eyed Peas Instead

Updated on January 1, 2013

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

Sausage creole rice, simply add black eyed peas and heat just until hot.
Sausage creole rice, simply add black eyed peas and heat just until hot. | Source
Creole rice with sausage, can also be made with shrimp or chopped chicken breast.
Creole rice with sausage, can also be made with shrimp or chopped chicken breast. | Source

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!


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    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      That really does sound good, Derik! I think you're right about being careful to choose a good, reputable butcher! Thanks so much for your great insight!:)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I live in Cen WI and we refer to it as "wild cat". When I do it, I buy 1 small fillet from a good butcher, then grind it, 6-8 oz maybe... Then I add my onion and a small amount of green pepper, season w salt, pepper, and a dash of whatever looks good, also garlic. all total it comes to about 16 oz. cocktail bread is good but I prefer a pumpernickel rye. I can see the health concern, that's why it all needs to start at the right butcher and use the best cut of meat you can. Happy new years to all! the B.E.P look good too!

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Lisa! It really must be a Midwest or Milwaukee area thing, then. Thanks so much for your comment! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My boyfriend is from Milwaukee and he said that's what they did when he was growning up for New Years....

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks billips! :) Glad you like it, thanks for reading and for your comment! :)

    • billips profile image


      6 years ago from Central Texas

      Who could resist a title like that? - I just ate and already I'm hungry again - we too have the black eyed peas tradition, so they are a definite must - a fun Hub - B.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Alicia! I like black eyed peas, even have them at other times of the year besides New Years! :) Thanks for reading! :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never heard of a cannibal sandwich before, or of eating raw ground beef! It sounds interesting, but it's not something that I would try. I would very much like to try your black eyed peas recipes, though! They sound delicious.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      I know what you mean, Nan! :) I tried it when I was a child, but didn't really care for it, and haven't had it in many years. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! :)

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      I am glad you mentioned that beef is eaten raw by the Germans in the US. They season the meat and eat it like a hamburger or with special bread. The meat as you said must be special from a butcher shop. One of my parent ate raw hamburger, The sight of red meat was not good for me to see, or eat.


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