Monday, December 28, 2009
Pork and New' Year's Day Culinary Traditions
North Carolinian Reginald Ward said, “I don’t care where you are, in New York” black folk on New Year’s Day are going to eat “strictly pork.” Tradition calls for cooking “black-eyed peas, hog head, a whole hog head now, pig tails, pigs feet.” He goes on to say, “You can go just about anywhere, and people who were born in the South, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee,” cook pork on New Year’s Day. Having lived in California in the 1960s, Ward noticed that, “everybody born in the South was looking for pork” on New Year’s. As a result, the price of smoked and pickled pork parts like pigs’ feet and hog maws in California supermarkets became expensive around New Year’s. Historically this how southerners both black and white ate on New Year’s; and this tradition has caused a lot of serious health problems because folks ate a lot of pork on other days of the year too. Dr. Elijah Saunders, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center who specializes in hypertension and coronary disease in black populations, insists that “pork organs and extremities” such as chitlin’s and pigs’ feet are also very high in saturated fat and increase one’s risk factors for an aneurysm or heart attack. Thus my message based on Dr. Saunders’s findings is ease up on the pork this New Year’s day and for the coming year. Over the next couple of days I hope to show that we can celebrate the New Year and eat healthy good tasting soul food too.