Friday, January 1, 2010
Happy New Year!!
Happy New Year!! We brought in the New Year with a traditional Southern meal of luck! Sort of :)
We lived in Florida for 5 years and during that time we became familiar with some southern traditions. One of them being the New's Year meal to bring luck. All over the world meals of luck are eaten on New Year's Day, so we thought we would keep with tradition.
I don't really have any great recipes to share today. The pork was done very plainly in our crock-pot. The collard greens were cooked with bacon. The rice was simple and easy, served with salt, pepper and a bit of butter. (NOTE: I was going to make Paula Deen's Hoppin' John recipe, but time was not on my side tonight)
The cornbread muffins were made from a Marie Callender's mix with a few modifications...(cornbread mix, 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cube butter, chili powder, cumin, and tabasco sauce). All in all I thought the dinner was a bit bland, but all my children liked it, with no complaints :)
If you are interested in the history behind Lucky Foods for the New Year...here is what I found during my research:
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, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while 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 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. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.
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.
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. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig's feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.