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  • Susan Caldwell

FOODS TO BRING YOU LUCK IN THE NEW YEAR! (By Anne Ward, Flour Power Rea Farms, Charlotte, NC)

Here in the South, many of us celebrate New Year’s Day by making cornbread, collard greens, black eyed peas (in hoppin’ john) and pork mixed in to one or both of latter two dishes. These foods are symbolic of good luck with different meanings attached – mostly wealth and prosperity. Cornbread symbolizes gold (with full kernels to represent gold nuggets!), collard greens symbolizes paper money, and black eyed peas symbolizes pennies. The pork is served since pigs “root forward” and one should eat it to progress into the new year, rather than move backward.



In 2018/19 school year, one of my Flour Power instructors (the lovely and talented Danielle) and I taught an offsite middle and high school culinary course. The course focused on international cuisine. For our New Year’s lesson, we learned about what other cultures cooked or ate to ring in the new year. It was fun to learn there were some similarities around the world in the meanings of traditional New Year’s dishes!


Here are a few fun international New Year food facts we learned:

· In China, Japan and other Asian countries, long noodles symbolize longevity

· In Turkey, pomegranates symbolize life, fertility, prosperity and health

· In various areas of the world, round fruits are served, often 12 (for months of the year) or 13 (considered a lucky number in the Philippines)

· Greens are served in more than the south to represent paper cash/prosperity. My Pennsylvanian grandmother served cabbage or sauerkraut on New Year’s Day with pork sausages, and cabbage and kale are also served in Europe for similar symbolic reasons.

· In Germany, Poland and Scandinavia, pickled herring eaten at the stroke of midnight is meant to predict a year of bounty!

· The Chinese word for “fish” sounds like the word for “abundance” and fish is served in China with its head and tail intact for a good year – from beginning to end!


Above is one of my favorite family pictures from New Year’s a few years back – how quickly time flies! We wish you and yours the absolute best New Year in 2020 and look forward to cooking with you at Flour Power for many years to come!

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