Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Good luck in the New Year

Do you do something for good luck on New Year's eve or day?

I had overnight guests on New Year’s eve. At brunch on New Year’s day (lox, bagels, mimosas) we fell to talking about good luck foods (and the mysterious banging in the night…but that is for another time.) Ros said for him it was lentils. Ah yes, I have read that eating lentils is supposed to bring money in the new year. They supposedly resemble coins. Another guest said for her, it was herring on New Year’s Eve. She even brought a small jar with her. We all ate some. (If someone is offering good luck, how can you refuse?) I have another friend that was born down south and swears by black-eyed peas. A spoon-full is all it takes.

My family has eaten pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s Day since I was small. I have no idea why it started or with whom. And why pork? Well, one theory is that pigs root forward into the new year. (You should never eat chicken on New Year’s Day. Chickens scratch backward. Ooooh, bad.) Silly perhaps, but who am I to shake my fist in the eye of the new year or the good luck gods?

Here is how I do it. Mound the sauerkraut (I use the stuff in the bag not the can) in the center of large oblong pan. Place the rack of ribs folded over sliced onions on top of the kraut. Put on a little S&P. You can also put some peeled potatoes around the kraut. Bake until the meat falls off the bone. Maybe 2 hours.

Another traditional good luck strategy is to have a large dark-haired man be the first person to enter the house in the new year. It is called first footing. One of my guests was large, dark, handsome and obliging. Good luck to all of you in the coming year.


Liz said...

Mmmmm. Tall, dark and handsome... Can he come to my house too?

Bevson said...

The first foot should be male and dark (believed to be a throwback to the Viking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble.) Ideally the first foot should be a stranger. Mine was a friend.