Cowpea

(Vigna unguiculata) A legume of tropical origin, but they have been grown in America long enough to have just a few superstitions attracted to them. It is said, for instance, that if a married couple throw cowpeas across the road near their home, the woman will become fertile, no matter low long she has been barren (Waring). Another one, specifically from Illinois, says that cooking them on Good Friday will bring luck (H M Hyatt).

The "peas", or seeds, can be of any of six or seven colours. White ones have pigment confined to a narrow "eye", then they are often described as black-eyed beans, which have become identified with the "soul food" of the American deep south (Vaughan & Geissler).

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