Provisions: Black Eyed Peas for the New Year!

A Note from Whitney Reid Pennell:

Happy Holidays to all! We hope you enjoyed a lovely time with friends and family, and are eagerly looking forward to the start of a fresh New Year as we are.

We're so excited to announce a new feature of our blog: "Provisions", written by our in-house culinary consultant Chef Mary Howley. You can read more about her on the "Our People and Principles" page of our website. She'll be writing about all aspects of food & beverage from a delicious monthly recipe to discussions on team training, controlling food costs, and the farm-to-table movement among other culinary trends. We're thrilled to have her join us here on the Leadership Lounge Blog and are looking forward to sharing her unique perspective on all things F & B.

So for now, we'll turn it over to Mary for her inaugural monthly recipe just in time for New Year's--a delicious classic dish of Black Eyed Peas!

With warm wishes for a prosperous New Year,

Whitney, Jill, Grace, and the entire RCS Team

RCS extends a warm welcome to 2017!

As your F&B operation prepares for a New Year’s Eve gathering to ring in the new, we look to our popular culinary heritage to gladden the festive atmosphere and enrich the celebration at our table.

Tradition holds that a meal of black-eyed peas shared on New Year’s Day will bring luck and good fortune in the coming year. A custom with ancient Middle Eastern origins, the practice became associated with Southern food culture in post-civil war America. According to common folklore, the humble peas (sometimes called cowpeas) represent growing fortune because as the dried legume cooks it expands greatly in volume--symbolizing expanded wealth.

When combined with braised greens and some soft cornbread --- ”peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold” --- as the old Southern saying goes, these comprise a complete nutritious meal from modest, simple ingredients.

The addition of a rosy braised pork roast elevates the optimism for the coming year, as the inclusion of this protein represents the forward facing direction pigs utilize when foraging, symbolizing forward motion and progress.

There are as many variations in the preparation of this little dish of optimism and hopefulness as there are those who believe in the holiday tradition. The following is only one.

A very hearty substantial meal, this can be presented as an appetizer, leaving plenty of opportunity for revelers to enjoy other New Year’s celebratory traditions: champagne, oysters, and a full chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” at the stroke of midnight.

New Year's Black Eyed Peas

yield: 12 servings as an appetizer, or 6 servings as a main course


-- 4 cups dried black eyed peas rinsed and soaked for one hour

-- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

-- 2 cups diced onion

-- 2 cups diced celery

-- 2 cups diced carrot

-- ¼ cup chopped garlic

-- 4 cups de-stemmed collard greens, roughly chopped

-- 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock

-- 3 cups diced salt pork –or- 4 cups roasted cauliflower as a vegetarian option

-- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. In a large heavy bottomed stockpot, sautée onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in the vegetable oil until softened, about 15 minutes.

2. Add collards, peas, and stock, and simmer for 1 hour or more depending on desired tenderness.

3. Gently stir in pork or cauliflower, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve peas with hot sauce and butter-slathered cornbread straight from the skillet.

Reid Consulting Services, the creators of Food & Beverage Service Boot Camp(TM), specialize in operations consulting, strategic planning, food and beverage management, and training programs for private clubs around the world. For more information, phone (623) 322-0773; or visit the RCS website at

#provisions #chefmaryhowley #chefmary #foodbeverage #FB #NewYearsDay #NewYearsEve #recipe #BOH #backofhouse

Whitney Reid Pennell
 Founder & President

Whitney Reid Pennell is the founder and president of the award-winning RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services). She is a published author and widely praised seminar leader, with over 20 years of club operations management and consulting experience. 

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