Folk­lore and super­sti­tion pre­vail in the kitchen on New Year’s Day.

What we eat on day one may well set the course for all the days to fol­low in 2019. Many cul­tures look to foods that are round or shaped like a ring will bring things full cir­cle. This sig­ni­fies good luck.

For­ward move­ment, good health and pros­per­ity are all wel­comed as we cel­e­brate the com­ing days ahead.

In Hol­land, by exam­ple, a round frit­ter made of raisins and apples is a New Year’s Day favorite. The tra­di­tional Dutch treat may, in fact, be the orig­i­nal donut. What a way to start to the New Year!

Some fam­i­lies choose to assem­ble twelve round fruits, one for each month, to usher in the new year. Gather up oranges, grape­fruit, quince, pome­gran­ate, grapes, per­sim­mons, figs and apples for this fresh offer­ing. The healthy mon­tage will only lead to wise per­sonal choices for good eat­ing in the com­ing year. That is a cus­tom worth get­ting used to.

Legumes (lentils, beans and par­tic­u­larly black-​eyed peas) noto­ri­ously rep­re­sent coins, money and wealth. Hop­pin’ John is a pre­pared dish of black-​eyed peas and rice. Very com­mon across the South­ern part of the United States, this pop­u­lar dish defines many New Year’s din­ner cel­e­bra­tions. Texas caviar, another Black-​eyed pea or black bean dish boasts corn, cel­ery and roundish bell pep­pers.
Regional vari­a­tions add seafood, meats, sausages and push the line on other spicy addi­tions.

It’s no sur­prise to pro­duce experts that leafy green veg­eta­bles sig­nify money.

Cook­ing greens (col­lards and mus­tard) are greens of choice in the south. Other parts of the coun­try turn to cab­bage for cole slaw, sauer­kraut or kim chee.

Tra­di­tion in Spain and other more Latin coun­tries, has indi­vid­u­als eat­ing twelve grapes at mid­night. This cus­tom shows each grape to sig­nify each month of the out­go­ing year. The sweet­ness or sour­ness of each grape rep­re­sents the good months along with the bad months of the year that we leave behind. Whether leav­ing it all behind, or look­ing for­ward to a fresh start for the year ahead, lead with good food choices.

Food is a fun­da­men­tal human need. It nour­ishes body and soul and con­nects us to other peo­ple and to the earth. Make it a full cir­cle celebration.

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