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Foods for Good Luck

Foods for Good Luck
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
Foods for Good Luck
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

Whats for dinner?

Most cultures have foods associated with their “New Year” celebration.

“Hoppin John” was my family's “New Year's Day” meal but the dish changes from house to house.

The common ingredient is black-eyed peas cooked with hog jowl or ham hock, served over rice or not, served with corn bread or not, served with collard greens or not.

Modern cooks have no idea how to cook collard greens, nor do they appreciate the way the house smells into the middle of the next week.

I found a back holiday issue of what was the authority on all things related to southern food and was once the source and archive of all things “Southern” but no longer is.

Southern Living magazine is “woke” and no longer the keeper of things “Southern” any more than Islip, New York.

During South Georgia holidays a few families welcomed the community to their “open house.” Tables were loaded with finger food. There were stuffed dates, roasted pecans salted or sugared, Lady Finger cookies with powdered sugar, round things with olives in the middle.

“Ailey Ale,” named for the town of Ailey, GA, was a hot blend of apple juice and spices served only by the Peterson family. It was similar to “Russian Tea” but not much.

So far as I can determine, nobody has the recipe.

My mother had the Lady Fingers recipe but I can't find it. Lady Finger recipes are abundant, but they don't look right and lack the tiny bits of pecan.

I wondered how other cultures celebrate their New Year with food. Some times the food is the center of the celebration or just part of it.

The Irish and Scots eat buttered bannocks, but they are different things called the same thing. Scots bannocks were made with oat flour, round and flat. Irish bannocks were similar to fruit cake. Both include whiskey.

The Danes have kransekage, a cake made of rings of dough stacked into a cone. The Norwegians eat the same thing only spelled differently.

Pickled herring grilled with onions is on Polish tables, while Italians eat lentils and Cubans have roasted suckling pig.

Greeks enjoy vasilopita, a round coffee cake containing almonds Krapfen are served in Germany at midnight. They are jam filled doughnuts.

The Dutch enjoy oliebollen, deep fried dough balls stuffed with currants or raisins and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are similar to doughnuts without the hole Swedes and Norwegians make rice pudding with a single almond in the pot. Whoever gets the almond is supposed to get good luck in the coming year. “King's Day” is celebrated on January 6 in Mexico by serving “rosca de reyes,” bread baked in the shape of a ring and topped with fruit.

Whatever you eat on New Year's Day, I hope it motivates you to make your own good luck.

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