Now that we’re all done Christmas shopping, and beginning to notice those ten extra eggnog and brandy pounds, it’s time to make our New Years Resolutions. Many may be turning to New Year’s Eve traditions to ensure good luck in the quest for a financially successful, more spiritually awakened, or physically fit 2011. After all, it takes more than just will power to become a more healthy, diligent and conscientious person overnight, even if it’s the night of December 31st.
Most of us are familiar with the traditional New Year’s Eve menu. Or at least the majority of it. Though you may have wondered why everything had to be so high in fiber on New Year’s Day. (Who doesn’t want to start their year with a clean colon?)
For every dish that has withstood the test of time through the generations, there is a specific symbolic purpose. So here’s something to chew on, as you cook up your black eyed peas, pork, fish, and cabbage stew, all with a side of grapes and a doughnut for dessert.
I have a great joke involving a duck and grapes, but that has nothing to do with the NY, so I’ll stow it. The practice of eating grapes at the stroke of midnight comes from a Spanish tradition. One grape for each stroke of the clock initially became a popular idea in an effort to control the seasonal grape surplus. The idea stuck, and now we’re popping grapes when the ball drops.
Everyone knows greens are high in fiber and low in calories, so they can get you on your way to dropping the winter layer, but why are they traditionally significant? Leafy greens, according to superstition, represent money. It is a popular beleif that the more greens you consume, the more financially successful you will be in the year to come. Also, you will have no problem passing, um, bills.
The most popular legume in the midnight tradition is the black-eyed pea. More than just an astoundingly successful hip hop group, this little legume is symbolic of financial prosperity. Their small, seed-like appearance resembles a coin that swells when cooked. They are also high in calcium, folate, and of course, fiber.
Well, no wonder the three little pigs did so well for themselves that wolfie wanted a piece. Pork stands for progress. This stubborn animal will push forth and root itself. And of course, due to its size, the pig signifies wealth. Oink.
Cake and cake-like deserts are a common tradition around the world to cap of the NY feast. It is popular to consume cakes that are round in shape with a whole in the middle. It is also a common practice to serve cakes or doughnuts etc. with one serving containing a coin or other symbolic token. The lucky recipient will find good luck and prosperity in the New Year… provided they don’t choke on their good luck charm.
Personally, I think beer drinking should be symbolic of floating to the top… We’ll see if that one catches on.
Happy cooking, and best wishes in sticking to your New Years guns, whatever they may be. If you happen to need a salt box for your traditions, we have some nice ones made of bamboo. Happy New Year from the Bambu Batu crew.