Poverty or Prosperity?
I only eat beans once or twice a year. It's not that I hate them so much as they are a bad memory connector for me. They remind me of the time in my life when beans were all I could afford and I have eaten a life's worth of beans!
In rethinking my connection to beans, I have come to think of them as my "freedom food." It was a turkey roaster full of beans that made me make a choice. Let me explain:
My children were young and we were living in Texas with my second husband who was an abuser. He controlled all of the money, bought the groceries and decided what we ate. We were not poor but he controlled everything my children and I did.
One New Year's Day he made the big turkey roaster full of beans; gallons and gallons of beans. They tasted pretty good the first day and maybe the second day but by the third day, the kids and I were sick of beans. Like I said, he bought all of the groceries and by the end of the first week, I depleted the soup and other staples in the cupboards by trying to disguise the beans with other things. At the end of the second week, we were down to our last gallon of beans but while there was still beans to eat he would not buy groceries. Of course he ate before he came home from work. Then one night he brought home a huge T-bone steak and large baked potato and salad and sat there and ate it in front of us while we choked down our beans. I remember asking him for a bite and he yelled at me to eat my beans; of course I complied but something inside of me changed. When he left the next morning, I flushed the rest of the beans; that was a bold move considering I was going to have to accept his wrath later.
It wasn't long after that, I started planning my escape from him. It took me seven months to finally get up the courage to leave him. So you see, the beans were a turning point in my life where I finally made a healthy choice for myself and my children.
This New Year's Day, I am making a pot of beans and ham and taking them to share and leave the leftovers. A once a year celebration meal is good!
I know many love beans and there are many variations and varieties to choose from. Some people traditionally cook beans for New Year's to welcome prosperity into their new year.
What is your tradition for New Year's?