Certain foods are eaten across America on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to bring good luck and good fortune for the upcoming year.
In certain parts of the U.S., particularly the South, eating black-eyed peas is often considered to bring some of that good fortune home. Greens (such as cabbage, collard, mustard, kale or spinach) are another food that’s considered to be lucky, because of the similar color between the veggies and paper money.
If you decide to go with black-eyed peas, here are a few cooking tips:
Dried beans and canned beans are often thought to be basically interchangeable, but some recipes call for dried, while others work best with canned. Here’s how to use each type for the best flavor and texture (both are low in calories and have numerous health benefits).
For texture, use dried-This type is preferred by professional chefs because they’re firmer and have more flavor than canned (and they’re best used in soups and stews). Dried beans typically require a long, overnight soak, but here’s a faster way:
First, before soaking (or cooking) beans, sort through them to remove any debris; rinse. Then cover them with at least 2” water and boil for 3 minutes. Cover and let stand for 1 hour; drain and rinse. Now, the beans will still need to simmer for 20 minutes (longer for some varieties), so be sure to add them to any soup or stew when you begin cooking. The prolonged cooking of dried beans tenderizes them. (The total cooking time of black-eyed peas can range from 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 ½ hrs).
For convenience, use canned-If you can spare at least an hour (or more), canned beans are the way to go. Since they’re ready to use right from the can, they’re a great choice for salads or dishes that don’t require cooking. It’s very important to drain and rinse canned beans; the liquid they’re canned in contains an excessive amount of sugar and salt. Draining will also help prevent gas!
Check out http://allrecipes.com/recipes/holidays-and-events/new-year/black-eyed-peas/ for more than 80 recipes!
Eating pork and sauerkraut is another New Year’s Eve choice, particularly of the Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish, derived from the German tradition (sauerkraut is simply cabbage that’s been shredded, salted and allowed to ferment to a fine state of sour).
Did You Know That…..
January 1st has been celebrated by Western nations for only about the past 400 years (!).
The common image of the New Year’s baby with a banner originated with the Germans, which they brought to early America (the Germans themselves had been using the image since the 1300s (or 14th century).
It’s considered good luck to celebrate the first few minutes of the new year with family and/or close friends-as it should be!
It’s also considered good luck for the first visitor on New Year’s Day (to step across the door) to be a tall, dark-haired man.