Happy New Year

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Why do you eat Black Eye Peas.
If you are anything like me, you have been eating black eye peas on New Year Day for good luck for the coming new year. So, this year I decided to find out just why we think black eye peas bring us good luck. Here is what I found.  After reading this, I  put my pot of black eye peas on the stove for an amazing year of good luck. Best to you and your families.

Do you know why black-eyed peas are lucky on New Year’s Day? As with most superstitions, there are several answers to the question. Typically, the belief that black-eyed peas are a lucky New Year’s meal is especially popular in the south, so it has to do with our history, right? Maybe.
Most Southerners will tell you that it dates back to the Civil War. Black-eyed peas were considered animal food (like purple hull peas). The peas were not worthy of General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas became symbolic of luck.

Black-eyed peas were also given to slaves, as were most other traditional New Year’s foods. Let’s face it: a lot of the stuff we eat on New Year’s is soul food. One explanation of the superstition says that black-eyed peas were all the southern slaves had to celebrate with on the first day of January, 1863. What were they celebrating? That was the day when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. From then on, peas were always eaten on the first day of January.
Others say that since the south has generally always been the place for farming, black-eyed peas are just a good thing to celebrate with in the winter. Not many crops grow this time of the year, but black-eyed peas hold up well, were cheap and just made sense.
The oldest explanation for this tradition I found is on Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, the tradition dates as far ancient Egypt. During the time of the Pharaohs, it was believed that eating a meager food like black-eyed peas showed humility before the gods, and you would be blessed. According to Wikipedia, the Babylonian Talmud, which dates to 339 CE, instructs the faithful Jews to eat black-eyed peas at Rosh Hashana. The belief was similar: those who ate black-eyes showed their humility and saved themselves from the wrath of Gods.
Some people believe you should cook them with a new dime or penny, or add it to the pot before serving. The person who receives the coin in their portion will be extra lucky. Some say you should eat exactly 365 peas on New Year’s day. If you eat any less, you’ll only be lucky for that many days. I guess on leap years, you need to eat an extra one. If you eat any more than 365 peas, it turns those extra days into bad luck. Some say you should leave one pea on your plate, to share your luck with someone else (more of the humbleness that peas seems to represent). Some say if you don’t eat every pea on your plate, your luck will be bad.

See you in class

Where To get Supplies

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Students ask me all the time where to get supplies.
Many student have shared with me where they get supplies.
This blog is a long time coming. So here goes.
Bed Bath & Beyond has  jars. I would have never thought of this store for canning supplies. The prices on jars aren’t bad and then you add a coupon, good savings.They have wonderful tools for canning. Like cherry pitter, knifes, pots and hand blenders are some of them. They are at 15 Crescent Dr. Pleasant Hill.

Win Co Food at 2400 N. Park Blvd.in Pittsburg. They have a lot of canning supplies. I found a new jar size here.It is bigger than a pint but, smaller than a quart. It is wonderful for canning pickled carrots and pickled asparagus because of the shape of the jar is tall and thin.They have big bottles of Real Lemon Juice. They have things in bulk like sugar, chili peppers, and spices.

Smart and Final at 2100 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill, has canning supplies too. You can get jars and lids at a good price. They have big bottles of vinegar, great for pickling and making mustard. They have the dry mustard powder, pickling salt and spices.They have a lot of tools here, like cutting boards, big bowls, measure spoons, measure cups and aprons. This is a good place to pick up cleaning supplies as well.

Home Depot on-line or Amazon is a good place to get a pressure canner. I have a Presto with a dial gauge. You can order a Water Bath Kit with all the tools you will need too.

Some Ace Hardware are a good place to pick up jars. If you buy ten case at a time ask for 10% off. This is a good place to pick up a water bath canner and they have pickling salt too. Go to the Ace Hardware in Alamo on 3211 Danville Blvd. This hardware store has the most canning supplies I have ever seen in one place. Bring All In A Jar’s business card and get a discount on any kitchen supple.

When I’m shopping at the grocery store I always check the canning supplies. Some times they have Sure-Jel pectin and lids on sale.

Lets talk about produce.

I love Walnut Creek Produce at 2257 Olympic Blvd in Walnut Creek.
Close to my home, great produce and great prices. When I need a lot of one thing I ask for a box and save more money. They have an other place called Concord Produce at 2511 Monument Blvd in Concord. This place has lower prices than Walnut Creek. So if I’m out that why I shop there. When I need some ethnic produce I shop in Concord. They have a Moraga Produce (as well.) The prices are the highest here.

When I have time I go to Berkeley Bowl at 920 Heinz Ave. in Berkeley. It is a wonderful place. I tell people go on a field trip to Berkeley Bowl, plan on being there for two hours and seeing things that you have never seen before. Produce and spices from around the world. They have a great bulk area. I get raw sugar, mustard seeds, spices, flour and tea.
When I don’t have time to drive to Berkeley I go to Sprout Farmers Market at 1530 Geary Road in Walnut Creek. They have bulk here too. I get raw sugar. They have some nice produce. I have found vanilla bean here at a good price and some white wine vinegar too.

Happy Shopping & Happy Canning.

See you in class