“You have to read your fortune first,” Daniel said. At least, I think it was Daniel who said this. It was two summers ago and I had arrived home to find a group of friends sitting in the back yard drinking beers. Or as we liked to say…yarding it. I, my Chinese take out, and beer joined them. Since I don’t really remember who was there I’ve decided to pull a person from the list of who was often there.
I looked at him and looked to my fortune and my cookie. Normally, I’m eating the cookie for the fortune and would read it first, but night was set in, the print was little and I was choosing to take a chance with my life out of convenience. Now, this friend’s superstitious truth was giving me pause.
“What’s important is that you always take the fortune cookie to your left,” another friend corrected. I really have no idea who said this one. This also may not be exactly what the mystery person said, but you can understand where the conversation was going.
This particular fortune cookie had come from a wide-mouthed bowl where there was no left. “You are never supposed to take a fortune cookie that’s handed to you. That’s the rule.” I returned. I popped the fortune cookie in my mouth and chased it with the last of my beer while yet another person chimed in with their rule, “No what’s important is that you spit three times to the east and make sure to howl into the next full moon if you want the fortune to come true.
Ok, so that last rule wasn’t said at all and I only quoted an old episode of Mad About You, but really they’re all valid. If you want that little extra bit of luck make sure to live life absurdly. Over the years I’ve tried to do my best: keeping wishes secret, sprinkling salt around, carrying a four-leaf clover, keeping a little golden cat nearby, eating black-eyed peas every New Year’s Day, making sure all the elephants have raised trunks… With all the effort my life doesn’t feel particularly lucky. Unless I’m not aware of how unlucky my life could really be. That’s a thought to keep you up all night. It is the thought that keeps me knocking on wood.
Why take chances. I’m eating all of my black-eyed peas and I will eat both the fortune cookie on the left and the one randomly drawn and I might do a little howling. Hopefully, I’ll be covering my bases and not canceling them out. It would be so much easier if the rules of the luck game were written into a nicely bound paperback edition with an illustrated cover. Without this bountiful guide we have to reap what we can from various internet blogs, newspaper clippings and hearsay going on about eating greens for wealth or grapes or maybe both. (Interestingly most foods are lucky because they symbolize money, prosperity including the coin-sized-ish plump-when-they-cook beans.) And just how many black-eyed peas do you have to eat and more importantly when? Must it be just after midnight or before noon?
2 – 15 ounce cans black-eyed peas
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Mix together all ingredients. Chill until ready to eat. Serve with tortilla chips.
The recipe I have calls for fresh black-eyed peas. These can be hard to find anytime other than the week between Christmas and New Years. I used canned and thought it worked just as well.