Lucky New Year’s Foods

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 30th, 2011

On New Year’s Eve in my house, there exists no particular ritual as one year comes to a close and another is ushered in, apart from popping champagne at midnight, that is. However, various countries and cultures practice habits of their own to mark the occasion and to celebrate the year, particularly by eating certain foods in the hope of securing a bit of luck in the months ahead. Epicurious featured an article detailing New Year’s food traditions around the world and explained the origins of them. Check out below various customs of eating Lucky Food for the New Year and find corresponding recipes so you can bring these practices into your home.

For many, pigs represent progress and growth in life, so pork dishes are common on New Year’s menus from Cuba to Austria. Food Network Magazine offers a Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (pictured above) that is sure to feed a crowd and takes just over an hour to prepare. Sautéed cremini mushrooms, fresh parsley and crispy bacon are wrapped inside a lean, butterflied tenderloin, then grilled until thoroughly cooked.

If you’re amongst the many wishing for increased economic prosperity in the new year, serve up a scoop of lentils or greens this weekend. Lentils look like teeny metal coins and greens are akin to paper money, so both symbolize financial wealth. Paula cooks up a bowl of Collard Greens with smoked meat and a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick of spice. Giada’s easy Italian Lentil Salad from Cooking Channel is made with red and green grapes, fresh cucumber and crunchy hazelnuts, and it takes fewer than 30 minutes to prepare.

Save 12 grapes from Giada’s lentil salad to snack on when the clock strikes midnight. For many Spaniards, Portuguese and those in some South American countries, this fruity fix corresponds to the 12 months of the year. The taste of each grape indicates the quality of the month ahead, “so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month,” according to Epicurious. Food.com features a grape-heavy side dish that pairs perfectly with the stuffed pork above. This Orzo, Grape and Pistachio Salad is tossed with fresh basil and refreshingly light lemon juice.

In Mexico, New Year’s celebrations often include a cake baked with a small toy or figurine inside. Whoever finds the prize is thought to garner future fortune. Ingrid Hoffman makes such a traditional Mexican favorite, the Three Kings Bread: Rosca de Reyes. This sweet dish boasts fragrant cinnamon and rum-soaked candied fruits, such as cherries and lemon and orange peels.

Find more lucky food traditions at Epicurious, and browse Food Network for more New Year’s tips and recipes.

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