New Year’s Eve food traditions

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Q: I know that there is a custom to eat cowpeas and collard greens on New Year’s Day, but since they tend to be thought of as American cuisine, do other countries eat them as lucky charms, or is this an American tradition?

answer: Many countries have dietary customs for New Year’s celebrations, some of which are more elaborate than ours.

One Spanish tradition holds that 12 grapes must be eaten at midnight, one on each stroke of the clock. Lentils are believed to symbolize growing wealth as they plump up in water. Lentils are also auspicious in Hungary and are served in soups.

In some Indian traditions, eating a pudding called kheer or payasam is said to bring auspicious tidings to the participants. Kheer is a rice pudding generally made up of milk and sugar, served with pistachios or almonds.

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Ham hocks and pork chops are common in the American South, while roast pork and sausages are common in Germany. In Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria, a whole suckling pig is served at New Year. Pig-shaped foods such as cut-out cookies are also popular in some countries.

According to the Community Table website, “New Year’s Day in Ireland is also known as Buttered Bread (or Sandwich, depending on the Gaelic translation used) day.

Tradition says that putting a piece of buttered bread outside your front door symbolizes the absence of hunger in your home, and likely will be in the coming year. “

Also, in some Asian cultures, the site says: Those who can eat even one long noodle without chewing or breaking it are said to have longevity and good luck. “

A 2017 article on the Women’s Day website adds some traditional fruits such as pomegranate. Pomegranates represent good luck in Turkey. Because its color symbolizes life and fertility, its medicinal properties represent health, and its abundant round seeds represent prosperity. Various cultures believe in eating round fruits such as clementines.

“In Germany, Poland and Scandinavia, eating herring at midnight is believed to guarantee a good harvest, as herring is abundant throughout Western Europe,” the site says. “Also, its silver color resembles the color of coins, which bodes well for future financial fortunes.”

Also, if you want more fish, the site adds: For good luck dishes. Also, Rosemary Gong, in her book on Chinese celebrations, Good Luck Life, notes that it is important to provide the fish head and tail in perfect condition in order to have a good year from start to finish. It is written that “

American New Year’s Day food traditions have a lot to do with prosperity. Black-eyed peas look silvery when cooked, collards are green like money, and cornbread is golden.

Cowpea is a traditional southern side dish. Already prepared varieties, such as the canned cowpea used in this recipe, can usually be eaten without additional prep work. Boredom is eliminated.


Joe's takeout

A side of Mean Joe’s Collard Greens from Joe’s Takeout.

Walt Anks, Journal

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Written by: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., #100, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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