For the Strawn family, ringing in the new year isn't complete without black eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread. The dishes signify a Southern new year's dining tradition that dates back to pre-Civil war times.
Collard greens represent dollar bills. The black-eyed peas represent coins, (which are also eaten for good luck during the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah). And the cornbread, symbolizes gold.
In downtown Jonesboro, Parsonage 322 is one of few restaurants that offer a prosperity plate for the new year. It consists of black-eyed peas, collard greens, cornbread and pork. Pork is symbolic of progression, according to Parsonage 322 chef Billy Myers.
"I've grown up with this tradition," states Chef Myers, "The significance of the black-eyed peas is that it looks like a small purse, black with a little snap on the top. And, you know it's good for the digestion. It's just good food."
It was good enough for Wynne resident Connie Currie, and her family, to make an hour drive to Jonesboro. "This may be a new tradition for us," says Currie.