December 28, 2012

5 Lucky Foods for New Year’s Day

With 2013 right around the corner, now is the time to plan your menu for New Year’s Day. Traditional “lucky” foods abound and vary throughout different parts of the country, but today I am going to whittle the list down to my top five lucky New Year’s foods (plus some great ideas for serving them) to hopefully bring you plenty of good fortune during your next trip around the sun!

1. Black-Eyed Peas

A tradition steeped in southern heritage, black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day because of their resemblance to coins. In all of my 31 years, I have never missed eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the year! One of my favorite preparations of black-eyed peas is a traditional Hoppin’ John recipe, like this one from Epicurious.

2. Greens

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Can you guess why greens might be popular New Year’s Day fare? That’s right–they are the color of money! Although stewed greens like collards and kale are popular in the southern United States, other great options include green cabbage or swiss chard.

3. Pork

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I have heard various explanations for why pork is auspicious to eat on New Year’s Day, including the healthy physique of the pig foreshadowing  abundance in the coming year, or the fact that pigs always move in a forward direction with their noses when rooting around for food, indicating the act of moving forward into the new year. Regardless, pork is delicious, and it just so happens that it can be paired beautifully with many of the other items on the lucky foods list!

4. Round/Ring-Shaped Foods

What if I told you that those doughnuts you love to eat for breakfast might just bring you good luck in the new year? In case you needed any more of an excuse to indulge, ring-like foods (including doughnuts) symbolize a year that’s come full circle.

5. Grapes

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In Spain, it is customary to eat twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Day: one grape for each stroke of the clock to symbolize the twelve months that have just come to a close and the twelve months to come.

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 So now that we’ve covered the lucky New Year’s food basics, how about some recipes to make these ingredients shine?

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad via Southern Living

Lucky Categories: Black-Eyed Peas, Greens

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup via Epicurious 

Lucky Categories: Greens, Pork

I’ve been preparing this recipe since it first appeared in Bon Appetit in 2007, and it is a hit with every member of our family!

Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts via King Arthur Flour

Lucky Category: Ring-Shaped Foods

Who says pumpkin has to be reserved only for autumn? I made these doughnuts last month, and they all were devoured nearly the moment I took them out of the oven!

Image via my Instagram

Monkey Bread

Lucky Category: Ring-Shaped Foods

Think outside the box for the ring-shaped category and served monkey bread on New Year’s morning. Because it is baked in a bundt pan, it fits the bill perfectly!

 What do you typically prepare for New Year’s Day? 

Thanks so much for stopping in!

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5 Responses to 5 Lucky Foods for New Year’s Day

  1. Darnetha @ ChippaSunshine December 28, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    We always have black eyed peas and collard greens. I usually switch up what we serve for the meat but we never have poultry.

  2. Betsy C December 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    We’re a military family living in Spain right now and I was amazed by the abundance of grapes last year! The idea of individual, pre-packaged produce is unheard of here, except for New Years. You can buy cans of grapes and packs of fresh grapes with exactly 12 in each tin or bag. I just bought a bunch (though I ran a LITTLE short for my family of five!). This is an easy tradition to add to our New Years celebration. Oh and by the way, we always set the clocks WAY ahead at our house…midnight comes at 9. Though this year, I might have to make it 10…

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid December 31, 2012 at 8:13 am #

      Betsy, what a great idea to set the clocks ahead! We might be doing that tonight!

  3. Justin February 14, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    As a southern girl I have always eaten ham, black-eyed peas, collars greens and cornbread on New Years. Definitely for the reasons you mentioned on the collared and the black eyes. The ham I always thought just because it goes well with the other foods and because we always have ham for Christmas and since we’re a small family I freeze a good bit of the remaining ham. I have never heard about the grapes or ring shaped foods though…interesting.

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  1. Amazing Black Eyed Pea Dip - January 3, 2013

    [...] supposed to bring you luck for the coming year.  In fact my friend Amy, wrote a post on all the foods to eat on New Year’s Day!  But if you have some left over Black Eyed Peas or a can left in the [...]

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