The tradition of eating certain food on New Year's day in order to bring health, wealth, and all good things in the new year is old. So old, in fact, that no one can really pinpoint when it started. The food varies greatly depending on what part of the world you live in.
One explanation for the South, that is just as good as any to me, is that during the Civil War, the northern soldiers had not been taught about the goodness of garden greens. It is told that when the soldiers passed through and took all the food, they left the greens and the black-eyed peas, finding them undesirable. The people who stayed ate what was left.
Probably a more accurate scenario is that greens will grow all winter here except during the coldest winters, and cooks wanted something fresh to prepare for the New Year's holiday. Who knows?
This New Year's day, we made the collards a little different than usual. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Grandma's or Paula Deen's collard greens, but we wanted something quicker to prepare. Here is how we did it.
Saute two cloves of crushed garlic in olive oil.
Add three cups thinly sliced sweet potatoes, about three small ones. Add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and just a little water. Steam the sweet potatoes for a few minutes to tenderize them.
Use this many collards. A good hand full.
Roll the collards up and slice thinly.
They should look like this.
Add to the sweet potato/garlic mixture and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes.
I think it looks pretty good with the hog jowl, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. Yummy.