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Dec 8, 2005 12:44 AM


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The recent Thanksgiving thread regarding tradition was real interesting reading, and I've glanced at some past threads regarding posters' culinary traditions around Christmas. I'm kinda' curious if anyone here has any culinary traditions related to New Year's Eve/Day.

Mine is kinda' unique - my family has traditionally cooked up a batch of palitaw (Filipino poached rice cakes topped with freshly grated coconut and brown sugar) either on New Year's Eve or Day. It doesn't seem like the new year has arrived in my mind unless I've eaten a couple of these sweet treats.

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  1. You might think I imbibed some champagne or something early considering how I mixed up the Name & Subject lines :)

    1. Here in the Northeast, it is the custom to get Chinese food on New Years Eve. My cousins in the Mid West (Ohio)cook a pork roast with sauerkraut all night, and it is the first thing they eat in the morning.

      7 Replies
      1. re: macca

        In the interests of being fully informed - - - I grew up in Massachusetts and have lived in NY for nearly 20 years (indeed, I'm hard pressed to think of a New Year's Eve I HAVEN'T spent in the Northeast) and I've never heard of such a custom.

        Of course I've heard of people having Chinese food on New Year's Eve, just that I'd hardly say it rises to the level of a regional custom.

        1. re: marcia

          Well around the Boston area it is certainly a custom
          Chinese restaurants are absolutley mobbed with people picking up their takeout orders. I'm talking 20 or 30 deep at the counter for a period of hours.

          1. re: marcia

            That's odd. What part of Massachusetts did you grow up in? I am speaking for the Greater Boston/North Shore area. We order the take out early, and another poster was correct- there is still a wait for pick up. At least in the greater Bostn/North Shore area, it is definitely a regional custom. And has been for as long as I can remember.

            1. re: macca

              Maybe a cultural thing? I lived for about a decade in Cambridge, Boston, Lynn, Swampscott, and as far North as Rockport and never even knew anyone who ordered Chinese food on New Years.

              Those were my college and early working girl, so to speak, years. It's not like I was rolling in money. Like Marcia this post was the first I ever heard of such a thing.

              1. re: rworange

                I have lived in Boston, Brookline, Malden, Danvers and Melrose. Have celebrated New Years Eve with a diverse group of people over the years, with different groups of friends, as well as family. Chinese has always been a tradition. Maybe it is a cultural thing- though I am not sure which culture:}.
                This is interesting. I think this year when I am waiting in the long line for my order, I will poll the people around me. We are also ordering Chinerse food for an office meeting this Friday, and when I call in the order, I will ask if New Years Eve is a big evening for the restaurant.
                ( I work in North Andover- about 25 miles n orth of Boston) Will post my results!

                1. re: macca

                  Great ... in my area it was always pizza ... and spunoni ice cream for dessert. I grew up in Connecticut, so there was lack of access to Chinese food in my town (one, run by non Asians). At the time I lived up near Swampscott, well, not exactly a big area for Chinese food. Perhaps more traditional in the cities than the burbs?

                  1. re: rworange

                    Not sure. I grew up in the burbs, and live in the burbs now- and it's Chinese for NE Eve all around me! But this has really got me interested. I took an informal poll ( only 5 people). Four of the five have Chinese food. The fifth person is from Guatemala and had never heard of it. Next stop- polling the restaurant!

        2. Well, those with Southern traditions often cook Hoppin' John and a ham.

          There is a considerable tradition of beans and pork products to begin the new year. One folk tradition is that eating poor on New Year's Day will help you eat rich the rest of the year.

          Up North, I am aware (from my family and others) that a fresh (uncured) ham was often the centerpiece of a New Year's Day feast.

          Note, I am talking about New Year's Day, not Eve. It seems that the Eve has almost entirely blinded folks nowadays to the culinary and social* traditions of the Day, which I find impoverishing as a cultural matter.

          * Until a generation or two ago, New Year's Day was also the traditional day of the year to go visiting (or receive) family and friends.

          1. This southerner eats Blackeyed Peas (Hoppin' John is Black Eyed Peas cooked with Ham Hocks) and Turnip Greens.

            We also have a big pot of Purlieu or Chicken Bog. It is basically sausage, rice, and chicken and it is very delicious.

            1. I am another hoppin' john eater, it is just not New Years Day without it and collards and cornbread. I'll probably have some roast pork to go with it. I was taught that it was bad luck not to have your hoppin'john.

              The locals here in Indiana have corned beef and cabbage on New Years Day.