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Ancestral Cooking Forum

Chitt'lins for New Year

I have a friend who has Alabama roots and they "always had to have chittlins for New Years, plus greens, plus blackeye peas."

I grew up in the country, in Arkansas. In those days, chittlins were not sold in stores. The only time we ate chittlins was when we killed hogs. And the only time we did that was after the weather got cold. It had to be cold enough that the meat did not spoil before it had time to "cure" using whichever method being utilized, smoke or salt, etc.

But, we did not kill hogs during the time between Christmas and New Years Day, so there would have been no chittlins to eat, at our house anyway.

I recall that the chittlins went through a 1-2 week cleaning period where they sat in brine, with the briny water changed a couple of times in that period. Then they were rinsed, cooked and eaten, no leftovers for a month or two later. I verified this with my 80+ year old aunt. She doesn't remember having chittlins specifically for New Years until moving away; does remember the greens, blackeye peas, etc.

Can anyone explain the origins or this New Years Day meal? Was it just "pork" or was it specifically "chittlins?"

And my friend's family had another ritual: On New Years Day, a man had to be the first to come through your door. And he would walk through all your rooms. Not a resident male, nor a teenager. If necessary, you and a neighbor swapped men. Your resident man went to the neighbor's house and completed this ritual, and your neighbor sent her resident man to your house to complete this ritual. I've never heard of this otherwise.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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