I went to the store to buy a pack of dried black-eyed peas, wondering if they are as much of a New Year's tradition on Hawaii Island as they are on the Southern Mainland. Well, they must be, because there were none on the shelf.
I looked up to the top shelf, where this particular store places boxes of extra stock. I spied a box marked, "B-Eye Peas." Eureka! But, not being eight feet tall, I had no way to get this box down, so I searched row to row for a store clerk to help. Luckily, one was just two rows over. Being a friendly Hawaiian, she followed me to the bean section and checked the shelves, but kept showing that there were indeed "black beans" available.
I kept saying back, "What I need are black-eyed peas," with emphasis on the "eyed peas" part. Then she would show me the black beans again. I laughed and repeated, "Black-eyed peas" and pointed to the empty shelf, then the box on the upper shelf, until eventually she gave in. Climbed the ladder she'd brought, and got down the box marked "B-Eye Peas."
As she opened the box, she said, "Ah, those ones!" We both chuckled about that.
So, tomorrow, I'm cooking up black-eyed peas, bacon, ham hocks, ham chunks, and corn bread.
Happy New Year, Y'all. Or perhaps I should say, Hau'oli Makahiki Hou, except a few Hawaiians don't know the difference between black beans and black-eyed peas.
My favorite recipe is this one, from Southern Living magazine. Although I add two smoked ham hocks and about a half-pound of chunks from a ham slice.