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Posts Tagged ‘luckiest foods’

Why Eating Cabbage Rolls is Lucky on New Year’s

Photo by Kankana Saxena

In many parts of Eastern Europe, eating cabbage rolls for New Year’s is considered very lucky. Laura Kelley, author of The Silk Road Gourmet (iUniverse, 2009), says: “My mother said that cabbage rolls were considered lucky because the leaves looked like paper money. The New Year’s connection was to roll ingredients that symbolized different things — chestnuts and walnuts look like brains, so they signify intelligence; tomato is about health and transformation, etc. — into the leaves to bring these things to the family who ate them in the new year.”

According to Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg, the cabbage rolls, with cabbage on the outside and meat on the inside, are as a home should be: “Inside should be nice and comfy, but the outside? Don’t make the neighbors envious!” He says that in keeping with Hasidic Jewish tradition, the rolls are eaten on Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashana and Simchat Torah.

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Cotechino e Lenticchie, or What Italians Eat on New Year’s for Good Luck

Photo by Kankana Saxena

This hearty Italian dish from the northern Italian region of Umbria is said to bring good luck because the lentils look like coins when they are done cooking. “It is the traditional food eaten on New Year’s for good luck,” says Italy-based chef and owner of Cooking Vacations Lauren Birmingham Piscitelli. In particular, says Lauren, lentils are considered very lucky, “Dried lentils are often wrapped in little wreath-like decorations and passed out to friends and families ensuring health, happiness and good fortune in the new year.”

Cotechino sausage really belongs to Northern Italy, where it differs slightly from region to region. For example, in the town of Villastrada, they include a small amount of vanilla in the cure. “But in Piacenza, where my mother is from, the typical cotechino sausage is encased in a bladder or intestine, dried and aged for 30 to 40 days before being boiled. It has Barbera wine, peppercorns, and a mix of lean pork and fatty pork rind,” says home cook Christian Galliani. He recalls big family celebrations that focused on this dish during New Year’s Eve. “At least 20 people would come for my grandmother’s cotechino e lenticchie. They would talk of how the dish would lead to good fortune all year!”

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We’re Up All Night Sorting Through Black-Eyed Peas to Get Lucky

Photo by Kankana Saxena

There is an old saying in the American South: “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.” True to the saying, hoppin’ John, prepared with black-eyed peas, is served with collard greens and cornbread for a triple dose of good luck on New Year’s Day in the American South.

Chef Teddi Wohlford, co-author of The Sweet Magnolias Cookbook (Harlequin, 2012), recalls eating black-eyed peas and crowder peas for prosperity and good luck. “Although black-eyed peas can be purchased in the canned food section or in the freezer section of almost every Southern grocery store, there is something special and time-honored about going through the black-eyed peas (or any other dried bean), sorting and removing any bits of debris, pebbles or small dirt clods,” she says. In her family, this process of going through the dried legumes was known as “looking the beans.” Once the looking was done, the dried beans were soaked overnight to speed up the cooking process.

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