Prosperous New Year Foods
with Stephanie Bullen
December 26, 2013
More than mere sustenance, food and culinary traditions can hold so much meaning. With the New Year coming at us very quickly, we’ve picked out some of the most classic New Year foods that are steeped in symbolism, and we’re highlighting a few recipe ideas along the way.
Many New Year recipes from around the world draw on specific foods to symbolize prosperity for the coming year. Beans, representative of coins, are consumed throughout the world. In the southern United States, this takes the form of Hoppin’ John. While the history of the name is murky, the black eyed peas in Hoppin’ John are plentiful and symbolic of wealth and fortune for the coming year. For extra luck, make sure to consume at least 365 black eyed peas, one for each day of the year! The same dish is often served the next day, and renamed Skippin’ Jenny, to represent frugality and resourcefulness.
It’s hard to talk about lentils or beans without mentioning pork. The tradition of eating both pork and lentil dishes is prevalent in both Mediterranean and Latin countries. In Italy, this takes the form of a dish of green lentils with sausage. In Brazil, a lentil soup is often served. Our recipe for Spanish Style Pork & Beans has a combination of ground pork, bacon, and beans that is sure to bring good fortune.
Pork doesn’t seem particularly significant, until you understand how pigs move and forage. With their snouts to the ground they root in the dirt as they move forward. Thus, eating pork on January 1 has come to stand for progress in the New Year. Brunch is a great antidote for late night New Year revelry and Oregon Trail Breakfast Sausage Patties can be mixed up ahead of time for a quick, easy, and prosperous brunch.
For lighter fare, cook up some lucky fish. In Asia, the idea of fish as a lucky food likely stems from the fact that the Chinese word for “fish” sounds similar to the Chinese word for “abundance.” In Western Europe, herring is abundant, and consuming it at midnight is thought to bring bounty for the coming year. Silvery fish scales resemble coins and are sometimes even carried in pockets or wallets. Adding some green to your fish may bring even greater prosperity, so we suggest seasoning your fish with Dill Dip.
Green foods, symbolizing cash, are also thought to bring wealth. From collards to kale, greens are popular sides for the New Year table. Southern Inspired Collards complement any traditional southern meal and Savory Kale Chips make a tasty, healthy New Year’s party snack. A traditional Danish dish is kale, stewed with cinnamon and sugar. If you’re going to try a version of this dish, we suggest adding a little extra spice with our Spiced Vanilla Bean Sugar. In European countries like Germany and Ireland, greens commonly take the form of cabbage or sauerkraut. Interestingly enough, sauerkraut as a New Year tradition likely stems from the fact that cabbage was a late fall crop and fermenting takes six to eight weeks, making it ready to eat just in time for the New Year.
Don’t forget about the symbolism of gold. As a precious metal, gold has been highly valued for centuries. In the south, this means cornbread. To ensure extra luck, add some kernels of fresh or freeze dried corn to our Savory Spice Shop Corn Bread. The addition of golden turmeric and cheddar cheese powder to this corn bread might even add a little extra prosperity to your year. In Peru and throughout the Andes, papas a la huanchaina is a common dish for New Year’s Eve. This chilled potato dish is smothered with a spicy cream sauce, infused with golden color by Aji Amarillo chiles and sometimes turmeric; think of it as a South American type of potato salad. Consuming this golden dish is thought to bring money to your pocket.
So for a healthy, delicious, and potentially prosperous New Year, try one of these lucky menu ideas:
As we look ahead to 2014 and the tenth anniversary of Savory Spice Shop, we want to thank each of you for “making every dish Savory.” May you have a very happy, delicious, and prosperous New Year!
As always, we’d love to hear your feedback about our spices and our recipes. You can review our recipes online or send your own recipe creations using our spices and seasonings to firstname.lastname@example.org.