Wednesday, January 2, 2008

black eyed peas...italian style

Yesterday I went to my friend, Jonno's, to eat the requisite New Year's Day food: Black eyed peas, pork and cabbage. In past years, at his house I would have a steaming bowl of lentils which I would eat while climbing the stairs...something that apparently brings luck in Italy, where Jonno's people come from. But Jonno had the luck to fall in love with a southern boy, Richard, who hails from Laurel, MS and who missed the food that he believed brought luck, so Jonno added the peas, pork and cabbage to the menu. Now the lentils are gone (well at least this year) and Richard and I have our standby's. Food is funny that way, I mean the ones you believe in. When I was studying Italian and later Spanish, I of course learned the curse words. But whenever I said them, they didn't have any resonance in me. I knew what I was saying and what it translated to in English, but it didn't feel as vulgar, powerful or taboo as the actual word in English. And no matter how much I enjoyed the new ritual of climing the stairs while eating lentils, I didn't actually believe it would bring me luck or money or health, the way that a tiny part of me believes that the peas, pork and cabbage do. I need to ask Jonno if he feels the same way or if in joining his life with Richard, he bought into that story as well. Anyway, wherever you are, I hope you ate something that made you happy, with friends you love and that whatever that food may be, that it brings you whatever luck and health and wealth you wish for in this new year.