I’ve blogged about this before, but it bears repeating. You can thank my Southern grandmother for these gems. I want to share her wisdom to ensure that everyone will have a prosperous and wonderful 2013. I am also posting this 2 days before New Year’s Day so you have time to prepare appropriately.
First, the main course. Eat nothing that scratches backwards. This means no poultry as they scratch backwards at the feed before eating it. Lamb is OK. As is ham or beef. But no poultry. To this day I cannot eat chicken or turkey on New Year’s Day without feeling like I’m committing some huge mortal sin. If you’re vegetarian, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Next, side dishes. You need to eat your black-eyed peas and greens (see end of this post for excellent recipes). The black-eyed peas are for change/luck. Not sure if it’s for change in our life or change money (coins), but I’ll take either/both. The greens are for dollars (or any money). This is any kind of green vegetable. Growing up it was green beans (probably because they were my sister’s favorite veggie), but any greens will work. Just eat lots of it so you get lots of money. As a child I thought this was made up by my mother to get my sister and I to eat more vegetables than we would normally have to. The promise of lots of money during the coming year in exchange for suffering through a big pile of greens is convincing enough for any child.
Now, I eat a whole bunch of greens every year, and I am still waiting for that big financial windfall that I’m supposed to see. Someone recently told my aunt that eating our greens ensures we’re “maintaining” and not losing any money during the next year. Yikes. Now we’re all wondering just how many greens we have to eat to go beyond just maintaining and start seeing that financial windfall we’ve been promised.
To this day, it just doesn’t feel like New Year’s Day unless I eat my ham, my black eyed peas, my greens, and potatoes prepared in some way (mashed, scalloped, etc.) as my main meal. You can also make yourself a big old pot of Hoppin’ John as your main (recipes at the end of the post), serve it over rice, and have your greens on the side.
To ensure we ate a proper meal on New Year’s Day, my grandmother would mail us a can of green beans, a can of black-eyed peas, and a ham (not the canned variety, but rather the preserved and shrink-wrapped kind) in our Christmas package. Yes, you read that right, mail us our New Year’s Day meal. And you wonder why I’m still following the rules and will continue to for the rest of my life. I’m scared not to. So is everyone else in my family. At least I know I’m not alone in my rule following (or neuroses).
Doing laundry on New Year’s Day means that someone will be “washed” out of your life during the coming year, otherwise known as a death in the family. This can be summarized for your friends as: laundry = death.
Don’t do anything the first day of the year you don’t want to do the rest of the year. In other words, do the things you want to do. Call your loved ones and friends or better yet, go visit. Relax. Whatever you find enjoyable and wouldn’t mind being able to do for the rest of the year. I for one will spend the day talking to family on the phone, hanging out with my cat, and snuggling with the new boy in my life. And cooking and eating good foods.
Side note: I recommend not being hungover/sick unless you enjoy that feeling. I also do NOT recommend flying or travel on New Year’s Day. I did that one year and spent far far too much time in airports the following year.
Don’t pay bills or buy things on New Year’s Day as this signifies money going out and none coming in. Never a good thing.
Beyond eating your black-eyed peas, turning a stool/chair on one leg = bad luck. Don’t ask me about this one. I don’t know. All I can tell you is that when rotating a chair or stool on New Year’s Day, I always, always, pick it up off the floor completely before turning it. Better safe than sorry.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!
- Black eyed peas southern style (I omit the jalapenos): http://asouthernfairytale.com/2010/12/30/a-texas-new-years-menu/
- Bacon and brown sugar braised collard greens: http://www.food.com/recipe/bacon-and-brown-sugar-braised-collard-greens-270936
- Hoppin’ John: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/12/hoppin-john/ OR http://ruhlman.com/2010/12/hoppin-john/ OR http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/hoppin_john/