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Traditional New Years Foods?

I'm looking to prepare a very involved New Year's dinner, and would love to have each course represent a traditional food/recipe prepared for the new year. The theme will probably be european. While I know lots of traditional Christmas recipes, I'm at a complete loss for New Years. Any suggestions would be welcomed!

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  1. My Mama always makes "soupy with eggy," or Escarole Soup, which is sometimes called Italian Wedding Soup.

      1. I have always heard Black-eyed peas were good luck for NY eve dinner, and my family makes them a lot for that day. I have always heard that many of the "soul food" items were good luck like pigs feet. I don't eat that kind of food but that's what is widely believed. I would love to find out what else others have heard.

        1 Reply
        1. re: potbelliedkiln

          Read the link in the above post about lucky foods

        2. In Russia, or at least in the heavily Asian-influenced Eastern Russia, where I lived, people gorge themselves on mandarin oranges from mid-December to mid-Janaury (the old new year is Jan. 13). Yum!

          1 Reply
          1. re: lemonfaire

            Yes -- i will always think of new year and time around it up until Chinese NY as mandarin season ^-^
            another thing always present at NY table was Olivieh (then again that's a staple of any holiday in Russia and now I find out that lots of Persian restaurants serve it!)

          2. We have a complete English breakfast after the clean up is done including hot tea, porridge, eggs fried in pork fat, English bacon, bangers, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, and tomato. We follow the meal with a bottle of champagne and half of a movie and then go back to bed. When we wake up we head out for Chinese!

            1. I would recommend allrecipes.com. I find it to be a useful site, but warning it may give you so many ideas that it will be hard to decide. Marinate some fresh strawberries or raspberries in champagne (about 30 minutes in fridge)and serve on top some mascrapone cheese (spelling?) with some toasted almonds..good for brunch.

              1. My Grandma does a pork tenderloin roast in sauerkraut. She says if you have pork on New Year's you live high on the hog, but if you have chicken you scratch all year. It might be a genuine bit of folklore, or she might be genuinely nuts--jury's still out. The pork is tasty though...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Heatherb

                  My grandmother said the same thing - it was always pork and saurkraut for us. don't know if it was the geopraphy (Philly area) or the heritage (Irish), but it was a pretty common practice in my neighborhood.

                2. For my NYE dinner last year, I had the same idea in mind.

                  *homemade gravlax and blini. Pickled herring is a new year's tradition in Scandanavia and Poland, but I didn't think that any of my guests would eat it (and I didn't feel like making it), so I subbed in gravlax instead, thinking that since it was another fish that has been preserved in some way, it would do.

                  *Hoppin' John, collard greens with red onions and bacon, and cornbread. Both Southern traditions, and the black eyed peas and collard greens are supposed to bring wealth. And there's that pork thing also (used a smoked ham hock in making the hoppin' john).

                  *Devil's food cupcakes - because, goshdarnit, chocolate has to be lucky in some way.

                  In Spain they eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight - one grape for good luck in each month in the upcoming year. I don't think I remembered to serve those until 1am, but you know, it's the thought that counts.

                  1. Italian (-American?) tradition is sausage and lentils on NY.
                    Don't forget to put a coin in your shoe for prosperity in the coming year.

                    1. Traditional Hungarian New Year's Eve meal is a roast suckling pig.

                      1. our family (half korean and half american (influenced by amish) does "hogmaw" for christmas or new years every year


                        whoops, forgot to include the following dishes:

                        sauerkraut w/roast pork
                        dried corn
                        pickled beets and eggs
                        mincemeat pie

                        1. A PA Dutch /German tradition-- always have sauerkraut and pork. It's a yummy buffet food too.

                          1. In our family it's Roasted Pork with Sauerkraut and pierogies.

                            1. My SO for some reason thinks we need to eat cheesecake at midnight. He thinks it's traditional. Traditional for whom? Does anyone else do this?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Glencora

                                At midnight, after we went out to bang pots, my grandfather would bbq sausage. I remember all of the men and children outside with him, long after the women went inside to set the table. It was one of the very rare times that kids had some freedom from doting mothers and aunts. The men stood around smoking, sipping beer and setting off fireworks for us.

                                It seems that across cultures, it's about eating something that represents prosperity. I guess that in the US, with the great availability food regardless of season, the significance is dimmed a bit.

                                To ensure a prosperous year, the first thing you eat should something rich. Do it at midnight to make sure it's the very first thing. For my grandfather, it was fresh sausage, juicy and sizzling hot off the grill.
                                For your SO, it's creamy, luscious cheesecake.

                                One generations' preferences become the next generations' traditions.

                                Felice Anno Nuovo

                              2. I was in Texas a few years ago and I was told that it was traditional and fortuitous to have menudo for New Year's.
                                I'm not sure if it's true...or they were trying to scare me.
                                Which they did!

                                1. i know you said european, but koreans eat a lovely rice cake soup that's a great starter for any meal...

                                  here's a link to a recipe:


                                  1. I slide a chocolate souffle into the oven at about 11:40, so we can eat it right after kissing one another and popping the corks. My parents did it before me. Certainly doesn't bring bad luck!

                                    1. Herring salad with beets mashed in and a good loaf of Jewish corn bread followed by the roast pork with red cabbage and sauerkraut.

                                      1. Just curiosity- what's different about Jewish corn bread?

                                        Don't think I've ever heard of kosher corn meal. I can imagine that it wouldn't involve lard, but what else makes it so?


                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: MikeLM

                                          the jewish corn bread that i have had bears no resemblance whatsoever to southern corn bread. it is rather like a crusty rye bread, with a very dense crumb.

                                          1. re: MikeLM

                                            It is really a rye bread that has a different texture and taste than traditional rye bread.
                                            It is in no way related to corn meal.

                                            1. re: RichK

                                              Thanks to both of you. Could I get this in a Jewish deli? And, would it be labeled as corn bread, rather than rye?


                                              1. re: MikeLM

                                                It is just rye bread with corn meal on the bottom ... you have probably had it at most Jewish delis. It is also called Jewish rye or NY rye. Orowheat sells it as Jewish rye, but ick ... check the ingrediant list. It is going to be as good as the bakery you buy it from.

                                                If you get into some of those artisan bakeries, for some reason the bread itself is courser, which I don't like. Here's a good description and picture ... ignore the name of the bakery ... they are right about this.


                                                You can see a little of the corn meal dusting on the bread in the enlarged picture.

                                                Just ask for corn rye. If you ask for Jewish rye or NY rye ask if it has cornmeal on the bottom to be sure. Don't know how the cornmeal thing got started though.

                                                Picture of sliced corn rye & description (scroll down

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  Every loaf of jewish corn bread that I have consumed (and that is many) has never looked like those pictured. Most of them are round loaves and the texture is courser than regular rye bread.
                                                  Also, it is not just rye bread with corn meal on the bottom.
                                                  It is a different type of rye. Corn meal is not used in jewish corn bread.

                                          2. those pictures look nothing at all like the jewish corn/rye bread i have gotten here in nyc. they are large round breads, and I have always bought them at the bakery, generally by the pound, which could be 1/4 of the whole bread. they are very crusty, and unlike regular jewish rye bread, which can be somewhat airy, corn/rye has a very dense crumb....i have never had one with a coarse crumb.

                                            1. Adzuki bean soup with fresh mochi balls.

                                              1. I am from the south and our traditional fare on New Years day is this....Hog Jowl for Joy, Black eyed peas for Peace, Rice for Riches, Greens for Greenbacks (money), Cornbread for Gold, and we make a Russian tea (brew a strong tea with a cinammon stick, several cloves, sweeten with plenty of sugar then add as much pink grapefruit juice as the tea [so it is half and half] and let simmer for a bit) the tea is for good health. The tea also makes the entire house smell good and there is a meaning there like cleansing the old air with the new one but do not quote me on that. I just moved to England so I am curious as to what is tradition here. Oh also on the stroke of midnight with every bong you stuff a grape in your mouth (and dont choke) .....each grape represents good luck for and entire month. I think it is a Mexican tradition we picked up from somewhere. (we are not)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: EternalsBliss

                                                  My father-in-law is a Southerner, and each year we start with the above menu, and I did not know the meaning! The jowl is a bit much to choke down, but I picked at it last year and 2006 was a bad year for me. I'm diggin in tomorrow.

                                                  Thanks EternalsB for the meaning. I will bring some Green Tea tomorrow. Don't mind if I use your post and share with the fam-blee. Happy New Year!

                                                2. In North Carolina, in the Piedmont area, we traditionally have black eyed peas, greens, hog jowl(yuck!) and cornbread. I usually use either ham or some other pork for the hog meat since the jowl thing is not desirable for me. I have heard various ways to describe the meaning of each. Too many to conform to any so we just eat this since we were told to from childhood.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: tews mom

                                                    The hog jowl I'm familiar with is a crowd-pleaser. It's a tastier version of bacon made from the jowl. We called it "smoky joe" when I was a kid.

                                                    A couple of you wrote that you didn't like the hog jowl. Was it not cured and smoked? I can imagine most folks would not like it that way (too piggy tasting).

                                                  2. Here in the South (and from my very Southern MIL) there must be black eyed peas on New Years. She also does a ham, greens, and corn bread meal with those black eyed peas that is one of the best meals I eat all year.