For many, New Year’s Day offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. But instead of leaving everything up to fate, why not enjoy a meal to increase your good fortune?
Epicurious magazine suggests a variety of foods are believed to be lucky and to improve the odds that next year will be a great one, include these in your New Year's Day meals. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but there are striking similarities in what's consumed in different pockets of the world: The six major categories of auspicious foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes.
Whether you want to create a full menu of lucky foods or just supplement your meal, these foods are guaranteed to make for a happy new year, or at the very least a happy belly.
In the south, I only know of three categories of Good Luck Food.
Cooked Greens... Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year's in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money. In the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It's widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one's fortune next year.
Legumes.... Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind.
In Italy, it's customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has it's own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. This is the meal I made and will share with you below. In the Southern United States, it's traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin' john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year.
This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Virginia, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.
Pork ...The custom of eating pork on New Year's is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity. I had a hambone to use and couldn't decide between green peas or green lentils or both. I opened the bag to the green split peas and decided to cook them.Pin It