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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Good Luck Food

Posted December 30, 2009 11:53 a.m. EST

What’s on your menu the next couple of days? Well, if you were born in the South odds are you might be cooking up a mess of collard greens, cornbread and black eyed peas.

Chef Jay Pierce at Lucky 32 in Cary says good luck foods sprang up after the Civil War. Union troops passed over the peas thinking they were cattle fodder during their victory across the South in the waning days of the conflict. The peas are symbolic of coins. Collard greens represent folding money. Cornbread is supposed to bring you gold.

Jay is putting Southern Good Luck Fare on his Cary menu but admits the concept has a much stronger following in Greensboro where Lucky 32 has an older and more established restaurant. Of course, you’ve heard the jokes about Cary being “Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.”

Still I think it’s important to immerse ourselves in the culture around us. Maybe Southern Good Luck Food will finally catch on this year in Cary.

What about you? What are your traditions? Please share.