Do you have a food that’s part of your New Year’s tradition? There are many traditional foods throughout the world. Here’s a list of our Top 5 Food Traditions. (Please comment if you have a food you think we missed that should be included in next year’s list.)
Black-eyed Peas – This is a very low-cost food, full of fiber, protein and many vitamins and minerals. Eating cooked black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day originally was a sign of being frugal. The implication was that the eater will have prosperity in the new year. Black-eyed peas (also called cow peas) are specially common in the southern U.S. The peas are commonly cooked slowly with bacon or ham (see pork below), onion and salt. Here’s a delicious-sounding recipe for blsck-eyed peas. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/black-eyed-peas-with-bacon-and-pork-recipe.html
Collards, cabbage or other greens – Green is the color of money. Having these greens as part of your New Year’s feast is said to welcome prosperity into life. No guarantees, but eating the greens will definitely give you a large number of important nutrients. This is the traditional southern way to cook collards. Most other greens cook in less time. The collards take longer because they’re thick and tougher than many other greens. http://grannysvitalvittles.com/collard-greens-southern-style/
Long noodles – symbolize long life. Don’t cut the noodles before eating; just wind them around your fork or slurp them into your mouth. This tradition is usually associated with Asian cultures, but spaghetti pasta could also be used. Here’s an easy-sounding recipe for an Asian soup with the long soba (buckwheat) noodles. http://www.marthastewart.com/316076/soba-soup-with-spinach
Something gold – The gold color is to symbolize wealth and riches. If you eat something gold on New Year’s, you’ll supposedly have wealth and prosperity through the coming year. Throughout the southern U.S., cornbread is served for this purpose. Some countries serve dishes with golden lentils because they look like little gold coins.
Something round – symbolizes the circle of life and, like the long noodles, is associated with long life through the year. Examples of round foods might be donuts, cinnamon rolls, round cookies, bundt cake, grapes.
- 12 Small Round Foods - In some countries, especially bordering the Mediterrean, people eat 12 of some round food at the stroke of midnight. Examples would be grapes, dates, or olives. Eating the 12 items is said to bring the eater good luck for all 12 months of the year.
- Round Dessert with a coin or small toy hidden inside – Originally, a miniature statue of the baby Jesus was included, but now it’s often a coin that’s wrapped in foil and hidden in the cake before it’s cooked. When the cake is cut and served, the person who receives the hidden item should have good luck in the coming year. We’ve seen this done in a bundt cake, but it’s usually done in a traditional sweet cake.
A couple other food traditions:
- Pork – Some religions avoid pork. But, pig meat seems to come up in many lists of traditional foods for good luck in the new year. Pigs tend to move forward as they root for food. So, serving pork/pig is a symbol in many cultures of progress for the new year.
- Bubbly Beverages – It’s said that if people toast at the stroke of midnight, they will have good cheer throughout the new year.