This vacation week has just flown by and I have no idea where the time went. Part of it was sucked into napping with the toddler (both because I am entering my last few weeks of pregnancy and so am exhausted and HUGE, and because the poor babe came down with either pneumonia or bronchitis- they couldn’t tell which- and so has been needing extra mummy snuggles) and part of it was spending time with those I love and rarely see. It’s been nice but I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking. I had wanted to blog about the yummy caramel popcorn I hinted at here but when I made it again this morning, I forgot to photograph. Sorry. Another time. I also meant to try this sweet potato spoonbread from Lady Gouda but while I have the sweet potatoes in my fridge, I just haven’t had time.
Instead, I will leave you with a few thoughts on New Year’s Foods, so that you can get ready for the next year.
Jewish Tradition is to eat something sweet at the New Year (Rosh Hashannah). There’s a lot of honey involved. Honey Cake is the most common use, along with dipping apples in honey.
Chinese Tradition is to eat foods that have symbolic shape or have names which sound like the words for fortune or luck. For example, Sticky Rice Cakes have symbolic significance on many levels. Their sweetness symbolizes a rich, sweet life, while the layers symbolize rising abundance for the coming year. Finally, the round shape signifies family reunion. Noodles represent a long life- they say it’s bad luck to cut them. I’d say make the Asian Chicken Soup and add some looooong noodles.
Spanish (as in Spain and the former Spanish and Portuguese Colonies such as Venezuela) tradition asks that you consume 12 grapes at midnight, one at each stroke of the clock, each representing the coming months. The goal is to swallow all the grapes by the last stroke of midnight. I was only in 5th grade when we spent Christmas and New Year’s in Caracas but I distinctly remember this tradition and how hard it was- I’m pretty sure I didn’t swallow all of them.
Southern U.S. tradition says that you should eat black-eyed peas- dried beans which, when re-hydrated and cooked, swell to resemble coins- for good luck and fortune. This year I’ll be making the Hippo’s Black Eyed Peas and Sausage.
Round cakes, sometimes with things hidden in them (such as a whole almond) are often used as well to bring good fortune to the new year. The person who has the thing in their piece of cake is said to be blessed with an upcoming lucky year. I would favor this chocolate cake from Epicurious.com and maybe add an almond or other large-ish whole nut for the lucky find.
Lots of people go swanky for new year’s eve. If that’s your fancy, you could try the elegant and easy salad from Lady Gouda, beef wellington, roasted root veggies and an impressive looking but easy to make dessert like this one. If you’d rather go comfort, you could always try Chicken Stew With Biscuits, Italian Wedding Soup, African Chicken Soup or some kind of fish like this one or this one– fish are also considered a lucky food to eat. For comfort desserts you can’t beat chocolate in any form- cookies, cake, pudding…. maybe just have a chocolate meal? (And suddenly, an idea for a blog post is born! Perhaps in the new year, around my grandmother’s birthday as she loved chocolate even more than I do!)
And, according to Epicurious.com:
In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.