The foods that we eat during our New Year’s celebrations all revolve around traditions that go back hundreds of years. Most of our culinary choices are linked to traditions that developed in other countries but which now have become part of the American culture.
The food we eat during our New Year’s celebrations has some connection to luck, prosperity, good health, happiness, wealth or good fortune. So it is not unusual to see interesting pairings and combinations of food during dinners and parties on the eve of, and on the first day of January.
If you’re superstitious and want to make sure that 2010 is filled with prosperity, here are ten culinary gems that will make your year shine.
Champagne – Drinking a glass of champagne at midnight is also said to bring luck, since champagne is made from grapes, and helps reinforce the story that eating grapes will bring a sweet year. What better way to spell good luck than a nice glass of champagne, and a great company.
Pork – If you’ve ever watched a pig scavenge for food, you’ll notice that it keeps its feet planted firm as it pushes its snout forward. This forward motion symbolizes progress and prosperity, so pork products are traditionally served on the first day of the year.
Cabbage, Kale and Collards – The color of money, these greens are eaten on New Year’s because they are associated with wealth and prosperity. Cabbage, in the form of sauerkraut, is often teamed up with pork for a traditional dish of pork and sauerkraut.
Lentils – Lentils have been described as resembling coins, so they are a symbol of wealth. And since lentils plump up after being cooked or after being boiled in water, their growth means good luck because it symbolizes increasing wealth.
Black-eyed Peas– Similar to the story of lentils, black-eyed peas resemble coins and therefore bring wealth and prosperity. Hoppin’ John is a classic southern dish consisting of black-eyed peas, rice, peppers, celery and onions, cooked with a ham hock, over a long, slow stove.
Noodles – Inspired by Asian culture, extra long noodles are served on New Year’s to assure a long life. However, however you can’t cut or break the noodle before the entire noodle is in your mouth, otherwise you will break the streak of luck. It’s a great excuse to make some delicious ramen.
Pomegranate – This red and healthy fruit represents good luck for many reasons. The red color of pomegranate symbolizes life and fertility, its medicinal properties represents health, and the round seed of the pomegranate symbolizes prosperity. All things you need for a fresh start.
Citrus fruits – A Chinese custom that traveled to the United States, citrus fruits are associated with luck and wealth. Bowls of the fruit are set out for public consumption on New Year’s Day, which is said to promote prosperity.
Round breads and cakes – Breads and sweets that are baked in the round or in a ring are popular on New Year’s. Because they are circular, they symbolize the continuation of life and new beginnings. Round breads and cakes are also said to bring wealth, abundance, and prosperity to the family.
Grapes – 12 grapes are eaten at as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, one for every strike of the clock and one for every month in the year. It is said that those partaking of the custom is in for a sweet year. According to tradition, this will bring a year of prosperity.
Make sure a few of these foods are on your New Year’s table, get some discount coupons to lessen the expenses and you’ll ensure 2010 will be filled with health, wealth and prosperity!
* * *