Where holiday meals are concerned I am only laser-focused on the traditional dishes for two: Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I tend towards the traditional where holiday meals are concerned. There will be turkey on Thanksgiving and there will be black-eyed peas and greens/cabbage on New Year’s Day. All else is negotiable.

Did you know that grocers tend to run out of canned black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve? I feel like I should have known that, but eventually I found some dried and I have a pressure cooker.

The peas ended up seasoned with the trinity and some diced green onion sausage. I used some bacon for the cabbage and kale, and we had rice and jalapeno-cheddar bread, too. It was very good but we had a lot of black-eyed peas left over.

Today I decided to make some fritters, on the theory that fried = good. I added an egg, some flour and a little each of baking powder and soda to 2-3 cups of leftover peas and then fried tablespoons of the mixture for 3-5 minutes in 350 degree Fahrenheit oil.

I know that I have done this before and yet when I pick that first little bean hush puppy out of the hot fat I am always amazed, again, how good it is to fry things. My wife pointed out that it needed a dipping sauce, so I added some Tabasco to mayonnaise and sour cream and it worked.

We always make gumbo with the turkey leftover from Thanksgiving, and sometimes I use leftover mashed potatoes in a shepherd’s pie type thing, but I am going to send myself a calendar alert about this one, because I have 3-4 cups of cooked beans in my fridge pretty often and I have a little pot half-full of oil I can use to make bean fritters another half-dozen times.

In other news, the location for the Bocuse d’Or Europe competition for 2024 has been announced and it’s Trondheim, Norway. I don’t follow the competition religiously, and in fact I did not know there was a separate event just for Europe, but the Finale (Jan. 22-23, in Lyon) features teams from all over the world competing for honors.

The food they produce is of the “refined” or “exquisite” or “wtf?” variety for the most part. Things are balanced on dowels and garnishes are added with tweezers. It all looks amazing, but it’s far removed from what I’m cooking at home.

I received notice of the European event, which will be held March 19 and 20, 2024 as a press release inviting me to seek accreditation to attend the event.

If anyone would like to hire me to cover the Bocuse d’Or Europe competition in Trondheim, Norway in late March of next year, please let me know. I would hate to have to turn down an offer due to a scheduling conflict.

I hope you are all having a good 2023 so far. Here is the sort of 2023 I’m having: I have typed “2023” three times this year. It’s still new to me.