January 1 offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start of the year. Many of the world’s most persistent New Year’s traditions revolve around eating, with certain foods acting as symbols of the eater’s hopes and wishes for the future. Since we live in Nevada we all understand “the odds” – so increase yours in 2017 with these foods.
Circular Foods: This is the day to eat a donut. Foods in the shape of a ring are thought to bring good luck, possibly because they symbolize “coming full circle” – so head to DoughBoy Donuts.
Grapes: New Year’s revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight – one grape for each stroke of the clock. This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour; March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to consume all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.
Eat Your Greens: Cooked greens, including cabbage, collard, kale and chard are eaten on New Year’s in various countries for a simple reason – their green leaves look like folded money and symbolic of your economic fortune. Danes eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, Germans consume sauerkraut; collard greens are the green of choice in the U.S.A. It’s believed the more greens consumed the better fortune you will have in the New Year; add a side of cornbread; it represents the glories of gold. If you’re looking for the best “greens” in town you’ll find them at M & M’s Fish.
Beans: Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seed like appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with a prosperous year in mind. In Italy, it’s customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, at the stroke of midnight – this is a double whammy meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Brazilians first meal of the year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice. Germans enjoy split pea soup with sausage, and in Japan, osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the New Year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame. Black-eyed peas are served in the United States dating back to the legend during the Civil War; the town of Vicksburg ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and got a “lucky” title. Ask O’Skis Pub and Grill to double up on the beans on their delicious nachos.
Pork: The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based their rotund shape that represents prosperity and they also “root forward” with their noses which is suppose to symbolize progress. Roast suckling pig is served in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria. Pig’s feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages; if you are planning on feasting on pork head to Campo Sparks.
Fish: Eat your cod. Danes eat boiled cod, Italians enjoys dried salted cod, and herring is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany. The Swedish New Year feast is usually a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes such as seafood salad. Sierra Gold Seafood can take care of all your New Year’s cod needs.
Now “What Not to Eat” for a prosperous New Year: Lobsters are a bad idea because they move backwards and could set-you-back in the New Year. Did you know that chickens scratch backwards, so avoid KFC because you don’t want to dwell in the past this New Year. In fact, avoid all winged foul because your good luck could fly away.
And just in case you want to seal your luck in the New Year do as they do in Greece – smash a pomegranate on the floor at the front door to break it open and reveal seeds symbolizing prosperity and good fortune. The more seeds, the more luck.
All of us at Food Nevada and the Sparks Tribune wish you a prosperous 2017.
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