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New Year's Day - what is your food tradition?

Growing up in NE PA, we always had pork, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes on New Years Day (i hated it back then, but love it now). I've lived in the south now for 12 years and here it's black-eyed peas, collard greens, cornbread and pork. My understanding is that the greens represent money/prosperity and pigs represent progress.

I've always made pork and sauerkraut and would like to know what you do with your pork chops/loin roast/sausages? What traditions did your family practice when you were young that you continue on with now? My parents always allowed us to stay up until midnight at which time we went on the front porch with whistles, noisemakers and pan lids to clang and scream "Happy New Year!"

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  1. Chinese Food of course.....usually the only places open for business...

    1. It's ham, collards and black eyed peas for us. We were always taught that the collards are folding money and the peas are coins! Usually we add cheese grits and cornbread to the meal - sweet potatoes too if we're feeling ambitious. We are very superstitious about this - we never skip the ritual meal. The last year I didn't eat it was the year I married my ex-husband. 'Nuf said.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lupaglupa

        LOL, lupaglupa! Yes, I've noticed that many Southerners are diehards with this meal. It's a must. Funny, as long as I've here in NC I've never had a traditional Southern NYD meal. I'm not a big black-eyed pea fan and am very picky about my collards.

        Enjoy your meal tomorrow! :)

        1. re: lynnlato

          The trick is to get purple hull peas - not the usual black eyes. They are far superior - they stay slightly firm when cooked. Also, black eyed peas (even the purple hulls) are pretty bland and need to bea eaten with relish. Preferably my grandmother's homemade - but any good chili relish adds a lot to the taste.

        2. re: lupaglupa

          for us it's always black eyed peas and collards. This year I took the carcass of a few smoked chickens and put them in the pressure cooker along with some aromatics. The stock was golden brown with a nice smoked taste and gelled nicely. I cooked my peas, and this year mustard greens into this stock and made a New Years soup.

        3. We always have black-eyed peas. But after 17 years of (now-regretted) vegetarianism, I can barely bring a spoon of several types of legume to my mouth. Black-eyes are the second worst, behind only white crowder peas, and barely a step ahead of black beans. (Did I mention I lived in the South for several of those 17 years?)

          About five years ago, I found a way to welcome good luck in the new year with food I could stomach: I now have my black-eyed peas whirled into a garlicky hummus-like spread, made with lime juice instead of lemon and almond butter instead of tahini. The lime and almonds obliterate the dirt flavor, and grinding gets rid of the mealy texture.

          I actually even look forward to them now. But I'll never eat another crowder pea if I can possibly help it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dmd_kc

            Dmd, that black-eyed pea hummus sounds good - espeically the almond butter part. I may have to give that a whirl (pun intended). :)

            Just curious... what do you mean by now regretted vegetarianism???

            1. re: dmd_kc

              dmd_kc - You may want to try cooking your black eyed peas with either a ham hock or a smoked turkey wing. It gives them a nice smokey flavor.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Sam, what is it? Is there meaning behind this dish?

                1. re: lynnlato

                  "Washoku" just distinguishes between Japanese food and foreign inspired foods, "yoshoku". Will make some traditional Japanese foods.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Oh, I see! Sorry, Sam, forgive my ignorance <blushing>. :)

              2. Gotta have jook! For starters roasted asparagus is also a must. Home made croissants. Some sort of long noodle for long life. And some char siu bao (sp?).

                1. Toutiere --
                  Canadian pork pie!

                  1. usually by the new years we are all so tired of cooking and cleaning we'd go out for a short trip or hiking. ie. a few buddies of mine are going for a local backpacking trip instead (complete with nice hot springs along the way). And my parents are heading out for a hike with their friends. My husband is making us chocolate chip cookies at home to take with us =). I made chicken piallard to go with a salad mix, and pork tenderloin for dinner... let's just say we won't be hungry~

                    we are trying to live the new years resolution as we speak! (loose 5 lbs... hehe) at least we try...

                    1. I am from VA and my family insists on black eyed peas and collards for New Year's Day dinner. Someone pointed me to this Snopes article about New Year's supertitions. Good thing we are having ham tomorrow:

                      1. I'm Pennsylvania German, so it's roast pork & sauerkraut for me. I alway remember my dad taking me to the Mummers parade, then coming home (half frozen) to a house that smelled divine from the pork roast, the sauerkraut & the apples that my mom had been cooking all day. I just got home from the store with my roast for tomorrow. I thought I'd do pierogies, saute'd with fried onions instead of the usual mashed potatoes or spaetzle. Home made apple sauce, of course. It's only the 2 of us at home now, and there is no way we can eat a whole roast, but I am genetically compelled to make it.

                        My husband works with a lot of wonderful soul food cooks who like to feed him, so they are sending him home today with some containers of collard greens. I can't wait.

                        This is a nice subject -- thanks for starting the thread, lynnato!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: PattiCakes

                          Patticakes, it all sounds so good and right up my alley. Like u said, we're genetically compelled to make this stuff. :) I really look forward to this meal. It's simple to execute and comfort food at it's best. Like another poster mentioned, I'm a bit worn out on all the heavy food and treats and just want something familiar, warm and easy.

                          You know, now that you mentioned it, I was trying to think of a veg to make tomorrow w/ the pork. Collards would pair well AND they'd add a little Southern flair to my pork n' kraut. I like it!

                          Happy New Year!

                        2. We use any bubbly left over from the night before to make mimosas, which we drink with breakfast.

                            1. Well, any other year, it could be a roast beef or pork.......but this year, since my wife "invited us" to a neighbors (with a BIG HD TV) to watch the Penn State Rosebowl game (at 5:00), we are bringing Italian Subs, homemade German Potato Salad, and a chocolate pie for dessert. I asked about beer, but they said they had plenty leftover from their Pre-Christmas party. Ya gotta love friends like that!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                That's awesome! OMG! I read this to my husband and he eyes about popped out of their sockets. You picked great foods, FCF, to cheer on Penn State! We'll be cheerin' them on too. Go State! :)

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  Well, since the game starts at 5;00, we knew we wouldn't be cooking anything. And not having had a sub (grinder, hoagie, blimpy,etc) in about 6 months, I thought it would be fun

                              2. Whatever my brother asks for, it's his birthday.

                                1. I use up the extra sour cream, nuts, etc from holiday baking and make a coffee cake for breakfast every New Year's Day. Got to start the year off sweet and rich!

                                  1. I'm German so we make kraut with mixed pork sausages and a small pork roast and we serve this with potato dumplings and/or spaetzle. This year my daughter asked me to make pretzels or pumpernickel bread to serve with it.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Kelli2006

                                      does anyone else eat chinese food, but me & fourunder?

                                      1. re: emilbean


                                        just know, great minds think alike...

                                        1. re: emilbean

                                          My daughter and I went out for Thai/Vietnamese tonight, but new years has always meant pork w/ kraut in my family.

                                          1. re: emilbean

                                            That's our New Year's Eve tradition. Every place is packed and I call in our takeout order the day before.

                                        2. Big box of sugary cereal with ginger ale.

                                          Good way to detox from a night of drinking while vegging in front of the TV watching college football.

                                          1. Giant, and I mean GIANT pot of gumbo- made in a turkey fryer, and a non sausage version made in a 10qt stock pot. King kegs, oysters, shrimp, chicken, several kinds of snausage (andoullie, parker house, and kielbasa, locally made hot links) okra, the works. This is served with (and EVERYBODY must have a soup spoonfull of each of blackeyed peas, and collard greens - both cooked with smoked hocks) cornbread, and rice. Desserts - chocolate cheesecake, pecan pie, brownies, and real pound cake with caramel on top. OOH that's right, I get to crack open my special homemade "reserve batch" of hot sauce today. It's gonna be a good day, trust me.

                                            1. Hubby and I take our last big kick at the can before we start counting calories and fat again. Everything is heat and serve style so we can just relax and pop food into our mouths at will. Today started with coffee with amaretto, moved on to cinnamon rolls with mimosas. The nut carousel is full. Almost everything else we're having today is covered in or bottomed with pastry. Yum!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Googs

                                                Starting the day with coffee and amaretto sounds awfully good to me! It's split pea soup with smoked ham hocks here, but I lean more towards Googs kind of New Year's Day.

                                              2. chinese food every year!

                                                1. Traditionally, New Year's Eve with our family and/or friends was tons of Chinese food and booze....so New Year's Day was a soothing and rejuvenating chicken soup and noodles, a little salad and whatever else anyone wanted on their own.

                                                  We have pared down the NYE extravaganza considerably in recent years so tonight will be a simple dinner of Mexican pot beans, Italian lentils and sausages and a radicchio & arugula salad. Oh yes - and more champagne.....

                                                  1. It is a New Years Day tradition for me to make Red Beans and Rice. Southern tradition calls for black-eyed peas and some form of pork and greens to bring good luck in the new year. I have nothing against black-eyed peas, but I like red beans better, so that’s what I have stuck to for the past few years. Substitute rice for greens and I have my very own tradition.

                                                    My recipe is derived from the Prudhomme Family Cookbook and includes red kidney beans, smoked ham hocks, andouille, and what the great Justin Wilson used to call the “holy trinity” – uh-yuh, sell-ray, and green peppah. Until recently, andouille was not easily available in New Jersey, sow in the past I had to substitute kielbasa, but thanks to Emeril and Johnsonville, I can now use the real thing. New Orleans natives may not agree to the validity of Johnsonville andouille as “real”, but where I live it will have to do.

                                                    It’s a fairly simple process, soak the beans overnight, dice and sauté the onion, celery, and peppers. When the vegetables are cooked, combine with diced andouille, beans (drained), and ham hocks. Cover with just enough water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about two hours. Remove ham hocks, separate the meat from the bones, put the meat back in the pot and continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture reaches your desired thickness. Serve over rice.

                                                    Your kitchen will smell amazing!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jeffpickens

                                                      Only if New Years Day fell on a Monday would I do red beans, but now you have me thinking about red beans, I may have to cook a pot next Monday when I get back from NOLA.

                                                      As far as my traditions for New Years, my family always had cabbage and pig tails with black eyed peas and rice. Since I don't feel like making the trip to get the pig tails locally here in Jersey I usually just do ham and cabbage. This year I wanted to try something new and made Hoppin' John or a variation of it with collards and black eyed peas and rice with some sausage all cooked together in a pot. It was quite tasty, but I may have to do the pig tails next year.

                                                    2. I think ham was ours, but my oldest sister does a big dinner NYE nowadays.

                                                      As for me, i'm too busy drinking any and all liquids within my radius today. ;)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: im_nomad

                                                        Well then, cheers to you im nomade! Happy New Year!

                                                        I just finished our pork & sauerkraut dinner and I in heaven for the 2 hour cooktime - the smells in the home smelled just as NYD should. I could've eaten two more plates of pork n' kraut but I called it quits. Hopefully, I'll have plenty of good luck, prosperity, and all that jazz to last the year. :)

                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                          yeah i'm a little dry today.... can't help it !

                                                      2. I can't believe no one referred to the black-eyed peas and rice as Hoppin' John. I grew up in North Florida with parents from Georgia and North Carolina. New Year's Day dinner has always been collards with a drizzle of vinegar or pepper sauce, Hoppin' John topped with chopped onion, a piece of ham steak, and buttemilk cornbread. Yum!
                                                        Nothing traditional to eat for breakfast but use the rest of the champagne from NY's Eve to make mimosas, and add a little maraschino cherry juice. Makes 'em pretty!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: PDeveaux

                                                          Yes, Hoppin' John has been a New Years Day good-luck tradition for a couple decades now, due to my southern heritaged ex-spouse. Has to be spicy for me to really like it.

                                                        2. Didn't get to do it this year, but the usual is Roast Turkey with all the trimmings, because we crave a "good" turkey dinner after having been deprived of same at MIL's Christmas day... We love her to bits, but....

                                                          1. Mochi. It's traditional in Japan. Restaurants are reputed to have suction machines similar to vacuum cleaners to save elderly people who eat mochi and get it stuck in their throats. My dad said that it was a tradition to eat as many as you were years old. I think he gave up in his late teens. I was never able to eat more than 5 and am now happy with 3.

                                                            1. Another pork and sauerkraut with mashed family here.

                                                              1. For us Greeks, it's called Vasilopita (Va-see-low-pita). It's a traditional bread or cake where we slip in a coin before baking. Then at the table, a piece is cut for everyone there, includng "the house" -- and it goes from oldest to youngest. As children we anticipated this ritual almost as much as Christmas! And, obviously, the lucky recipient of the coin is set for good luck throughout the year!

                                                                1. In 1999 my parents found themselves with 3 extra turkeys at Thanksgiving, so they went into the freezer..the turkeys, not my parents. I was given one to bring home after the feast at their home.

                                                                  It was also the Dreaded Y2K Year when the whole world was supposed come to an end at midnight on December 31 so my company had some of its employees on call "just in case" and I was one of them. That meant I couldn't go to my girlfriend' house in Philly, so she came up to my house. It also meant we couldn't go out.

                                                                  Since I didn't know what else to make I decided to cook the turkey for Jan 1. I had never roasted a turkey before, but it came out pretty good! Ten months later we got married and now we roast a turkey with all the trimmings every Jan. 1st.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: al b. darned

                                                                    Just curious, do you also have a turkey & trimmings on Thanksgiving and Xmas? Not that there's anything wrong with that. I was just wondering. :)

                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                      Weather permitting (always a consideration in central NYS) we try to travel to one of our families for each. And yes, they (DW's family or mine) will usually have a turkey with the trimmins' on the menu.

                                                                      We usually plan a "contingency meal" lest we get stuck at home. DW usually requests I do something something she hasn't had in a while. (This Xmas it was a really excellent roast beef.)

                                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                                        Hi LL, yes definitely turkey for Thanksgiving, but I'm in Canada, so Thanksgiving is in mid-October, so Xmas is not too soon to do it again! Unfortunately, as I hinted in my original post, the Xmas turkey (and the trimmings) not always great depending on who's hosting dinner that year.... : ) Those are the years I do my own turkey on Jan 1 !

                                                                    2. good ol traditional rice cake soup or dukk gook

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                        ditto on the dukk gook with family...then i go to my chinese friend's place for pork noodle soup with homemade dobanjang.

                                                                      2. Black eyed peas (one for each day of luck in the new year), cornbread (lasting wealth--GOLD-- for the new year), Greens (Cash for the new year), Beans and Greens cooked with smoked hamhocks, which break up and leave tender bits of ham in them. Sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, brown rice (health for the new year?). I usually make chicken but someone (sorry don't remember who) here on CH told me that chicken is bad for the new year because chickens scratch in the dirt, which means you will scratch for money in the new year. So pork chops or ribs to go with all. Simple, pretty healthy, and in my family. mandatory for every new year. Think this is a southern thing (spent nearly thirty years in the south!).

                                                                        1. I noticed that my daughter's preschool is serving black-eyed peas today, which is the first day of the new year that they're open.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: jlafler

                                                                            Well that is downright sweet, jlafler. I've never heard of schools getting involved in New Year's traditions!

                                                                          2. A soup party (typically three varieties) for all my friends. This year was vegetarian (albeit not vegan) creamed artichoke and wild mushroom; split pea with ham; and Thai chicken with ginger and coconut.

                                                                            Add to that a lot of wine, beer, conversation pb&j and fluffer nutter sandwiches and whatever treats guests bring to share.