Fortuitous Foods for a Favorable New Year

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Best Ever Doughnuts, courtesy of Food52

While a glass of champagne might be the most widely accepted way to herald the New Year, the best way to ensure a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015 is to follow the customs of various cultures and ingest, or steer clear of, certain foods. Some foods are definitively auspicious, others not-so-much.

Greens and Legumes
In the deep South feasting on cooked cabbage, chard, collards or kale is said to bring wealth in the New Year. Until now I had never noticed, but greens, when folded, apparently resemble dollar bills. Even if eating lots of kale doesn’t bring on a financial windfall, at least you eating healthy. This greens-eating tradition is not just a Southern US thing; it is also customary throughout Europe. If prosperity in 2015 is your top priority, then have some legumes with your greens. Beans, lentils and peas resemble coins and swell in size when cooked, as will your riches. Down south they stir up some black-eyed peas into hoppin’ john and in Italy and Brazil they serve lentil soup. We suggest Vegetable and Lentil Soup from Restoration Farm’s Caroline Fanning.

Ring-shaped Foods
All over the world ring-shaped foods are thought to bring good fortune throughout the coming year. A symbol of “coming full circle”, why not kick off 2015 with some fresh doughnuts or bagels for brunch?

Round Fruits and Sweets
In the same “coming full circle” train of thought, round fruits are said to bring good fortune for the New Year. In Spain, Portugal, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador and Peru revelers, at each stroke of midnight, indulge in 12 grapes — one for each month of the coming year. Keep your fingers crossed that you don’t get a bad grape…that might indicate a not-so-good month in your future. Pomegranates are a particular auspicious fruit as its red skin represents the heart, life and good health and its multitudinous seeds, prosperity.

Round cakes and sweets, especially ones with a coin, nut or trinket baked inside are served the world over. If you are fortunate to grab the lucky slice containing the doodad, then you should expect good fortune, health or even marriage in 2015. In Scotland, where New Year’s is called Hogmanay, the first person to cross your threshold in the New Year is called the First Footer. If the First Footer shows up bearing coal, you can count on your home to be warm and toasty throughout the year. If he or she comes bearing a black bun, a fruitcake wrapped in pastry, count on a full pantry in 2015.

Fish
In Scandinavia and Northern Europe serving herring, which is locally abundant, will yield a New Year full of abundance. In China they serve a whole fish with the head and tail intact, ensuring a good year from start to finish.

Long Noodles
Throughout Asia long noodles signify longevity and are eaten with gusto on New Year’s Day. The longer the noodles, the longer your life.

Foods to Avoid Like the Plague
Winged poultry should be avoided, as your potential luck could just fly away. Worst among winged poultry are chickens. Chickens scratch backwards and could incite regret or dwelling on the past. Another food-instilled source of regret are (sadly) lobsters. While lobsters generally move forward, when faced with peril, they quickly flee backwards…which could lead to setbacks and more regret in the coming year.

Here’s wishing you an auspicious New Year filled with peace, joy and tasty eats.

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