New Year's Eve "Port City" Style

Growing up in Mobile, AL (aka the Port City) my family had a very basic New Year's Eve tradition. My father, a deputy Sheriff, had worked more than enough fireworks related accidents therefore nothing more volatile than a sparkler was ever part of our celebration. Still we had a tradition-rich New Year's.

Each of us kids was given a dollar bill to keep in a pocket. The superstition was that if you didn't have money in your pocket at midnight you'd be broke all year long. Most of the evening was spent playing with whatever toys or games we received for Chistmas while my mother was busy in the kitchen preparing the feast for the next day. The usual "good luck" foods like collard greens, black eyed peas, cornbread, and a fresh baked ham.

An hour or so before midnight my father would slice some of the fresh ham and pan fry it for a little carmelization on this old cast iron griddle. Once the ham was browned he would then assemble sandwiches with the ham, mayonnaise and yellow mustard between two slices of white bread. The sandwiches would then go on the old griddle until toasty. Simple but truly delicious.

You can make this sandwich yourself using smoked ham but it is better with fresh baked ham. The flavor is similar to a Cuban sandwich. Most likely I am a fan of the Cuban because it takes me back to those New Year's Eves of my childhood.

At midnight, bellies full, we would count down the last ten seconds of the old year before screaming, "Happy New Year!" Kisses and hugs were exchanged and maybe a sip or two of something naughty. Before long we were unconscious, pork and a swallow of whiskey sour makes an excellent sedative for a youngster. We needed the rest, too, because the next day would be a torrent of soul food and football, the cornerstones of life.

It is a bland, hundrum way to spend a New Year's Eve but it is a heck of a lot better than watching a giant Moonpie dangle from a construction crane.  It is also one of my most cherished memories.
0 Responses