I couldn’t stand black eyed peas growing up. My mother had inherited the taste for them through her Maryland ancestry, and served them up occasionally. I didn’t like them.
When I grew up and was served them in the Navy and later on merchant ships I still didn’t like them.
Yesterday a special purchase sale at Aldi prompted me to wonder if maybe I just didn’t like how they were cooked? I picked up a pound.
These I like. I’ll get some more. But next time, I’ll also make cornbread.
Black Eyed Peas are not actually a pea. They are a bean variant of Cowpeas (themselves not a pea), which are probably the oldest cultivated bean in the world. They were first cultivated in Africa, and then separately in Asia.
Brought to the Americas with enslaved peoples as both food and animal fodder (the whole plant works very well for this), they became a staple of African American cuisine. There is even a dish served at New Year for good luck. Though I won’t discuss those traditional recipes as they feature animal products.
All varieties of cowpeas are great as food for people and animals, but they are also great for the soil. They are very drought resistant and fix nitrogen in the soil, making them a great cover crop between plantings of other crops.
How to:
Soak a cup of black eyed peas overnight.
Rinse and drain.
Saute some onions and garlic in a slurry of water and mushroom powder over medium to high heat.
Add black eyed peas, along with some bay leaf, thyme, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, and cover with water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check water level and cook for 15 more.
Then add a whole bunch of fresh spinach (I suspect frozen loose would work just as well) and stir in and cook five more minutes.
Add a dash of salt to taste.

Gut Health:
Plant-based diets are often associated with improved gut health due to the high fiber content from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to better digestion and overall well-being.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties:
Many plant-based foods have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with various health issues, and a vegan diet may contribute to its prevention.

Sports Performance:
Contrary to the misconception that vegan diets lack protein, many successful athletes follow plant-based diets to enhance their performance. Plant-based proteins can support muscle building and recovery.

Reduced Risk of Foodborne Illnesses:
Plant-based diets eliminate the risk of foodborne illnesses associated with the consumption of undercooked or contaminated animal products.

Economic Impact:
A vegan diet can be more economical as plant-based protein sources tend to be cost-effective compared to some animal products. It may be a budget-friendly option for individuals or families.

Mindful Eating:
Adopting a vegan lifestyle often promotes mindful eating. Being more conscious of food choices and sources can lead to a healthier relationship with food and a greater appreciation for the environmental impact of dietary decisions.

Preservation of Biodiversity:
The expansion of animal agriculture often leads to habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity. Choosing a vegan diet supports the preservation of ecosystems and the protection of various species.

Culinary Diversity:
Veganism introduces individuals to a diverse range of cuisines and ingredients from around the world. Exploring plant-based cooking can be a culinary adventure, embracing flavors and techniques from different cultures.

Reduced Antibiotic Resistance:
The use of antibiotics in animal farming contributes to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Opting for a vegan diet can be a way to reduce the demand for such practices and promote responsible antibiotic use.

Cruelty-Free Beauty and Personal Care:
Veganism extends to beauty and personal care products. Choosing cruelty-free, vegan alternatives ensures that your lifestyle aligns with ethical choices beyond just dietary preferences.