WHITTLE: Black-eyed peas bring uh...


Fellow fast food fan Fant Smith has resolved to not eat food dispersed out a window during 2013.

As of Jan. 1, the day this epic piece of fat-free journalism was penned, Fant had kept his resolution.

Losing weight in 2013 is also a Whittle resolution.

I decided to lose blubber recently, when a little angel, bless her heart, referenced me in the hall between Sunday school and church preaching: "You're not fat, Brother Dan, you're just fluffy."

So in addition to committing to swim two and three days a week at the YMCA the rest of this new exciting year, I'm researching methods of weight loss and control.

One physician on the internet wanted pay for suggesting I could lose weight by consuming green coffee beans. This prescription for green coffee beans might work, if it's anything like throwing your lips around a batch of green apples.

So, I'm sharing this weight-loss prescription I learned back in our apple orchard while growing up on the farm. If you eat several green apples in one sitting, you'll lose weight, and do it with rapid repeat trips back and forth to the outdoor two-holer.

No charge, for the green apple prescription.

Being in the South, I expect to have good luck with my 2013 dump the pounds resolution, starting with black-eyed peas.

I don't know the reasons that Whittles, as long as I've been around, have always consumed black-eye peas on New Year's Day.

But I knew enough to be thankful for some of the best black-eye peas and hog jowl I had this past New Year's Day when asked to put my feet under the kitchen table at neighbors John and Hilda Stuarts' home in Smyrna.

"My cornbread today is a little crusty on one side," Hilda shared. "But it goes with our tradition of having black-eye peas on New Year's Day."

Adding spice to the pile of peas was a jar of relish prepared by former Philadelphia, Miss., country boy Rick Hodgen, who now resides in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

"Rick's relish lights up those peas," testified John Stuart, also a native of Southern Mississippi. "My friendship with the Hodgen family goes back generations in Neshoba County, Mississippi."

Neither Hilda or John could answer my question of why we leave one lone solitary pea on the side of the plate on New Year's Day. Maybe one of our university-educated pea-eating readers can shed light on this part of the Southern black-eye pea tradition.

Southern historian/author Shirley Ann Ferris Jones provided some research about black-eyed pea consumption in the South.

"It goes back to the Civil War era," historian Jones shared.

According to research, black-eye pea roots goes back to the boots of Yankee Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who reportedly ordered his troops to strip the Southern countryside of all stored food, crops and livestock, to destroy whatever they could not carry away. In that era, Northerners considered field peas and field corn suitable only for animal fodder.

So, in post-Civil War hard times in the South, our forefathers probably considered themselves lucky to consume the black-eye peas Northern soldiers had failed to destroy. That's one theory.

Aunt Durette Reed, may the good Lord rest her good Southern-cooking soul, prepared the most tasty pot of black-eye peas laced with hog jowl to ever cross quivering and hungry Whittle lips.

Add green onions and a chunk of good crusty black-skillet fried cornbread made with buttermilk, you have a meal fit for kings.

So I agree I'm lucky any day I can consume a pot of black-eye peas, cooked Southern-style.

So, pass Rick's jar of spiced-up relish back to this end of the table, please. Burp!!