Thank god for Epicurious.com, or I might have accidentally jinxed all of 2009 by eating lobster or chicken (they both move backwards and – who knew!? – cause regret and dwelling on the past).
I had no idea there was such a science to luck. I thought you either had it or you didn’t, but now I realize my ignorance of the magic of food may very well be the root cause of my less than spectacular track record.
Well all that’s about to change…
If you’re feeling a swell of panic at the realization that you planned to consume any kind of poultry (i.e. ‘winged fowl’) – and thus have all your luck fly away – then relax. I’ve got you covered.
Specific traditions vary from culture to culture, but there is striking overlap as to what’s considered lucky. Right there, that tells me it has to be true. Coincidence = gospel in my little world.
To break it down for you, the six major categories of auspicious foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes. To make that easier to remember, I offer the following mnemonic devices (I got quite practiced at inventing these the year I took anatomy because I thought it’d be ‘fun.’ Ah, memories. Almost ruining my college GPA sure was a ton of fun.)
Fish eat green grapes while pork cakes eat legumes.
Don’t like that? How about:
Grapes are green, fish isn’t pork, and vegetarians eat cakes and legumes.
Anyway, back to the menu planning: To hit all the necessary lucky food groups, I recommend the following plan:
- Forget kissing someone, the Spanish and those residents of their former colonies recommend you spend the stroke of midnight stuffing your face. As everyone screams “Happy New Year” proceed to snarf down twelve grapes – one for each month of the year – preferably during the first minute of the year. The Peruvians, in some kind of misguided effort to be different, eat 13. (One for extra good luck?)
- On New Year’s Day, bust out your crockpot and throw in some greens (a shocking number of cultures think they look like folded money), legumes (symbolizing growing coins), and pork (apparently a sign of prosperity and progress. Unless you’re Jewish. Or a Muslim. Then not so much.)
- Prepare a little fish in pretty much any state you’re willing to consume it (fried, broiled, salt dried, grilled, boiled, raw). Cod is hot in Italy and Denmark, while the Swedish prefer carp. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest. In addition, the Germans have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck, although I consider that an optional flourish (and in my house, one that will pretty much guarantee that my dog will eat your wallet).
- Finish with some cake. As with the fish, pretty much anything goes, although if you want to bake some kind of weird, unexpected hard object (like a whole almond or a coin or a toy) into the batter, all the better. Watch those fillings!
With that, you’re on a rocket ride to the best year of your life. Happy New Year and Bon Appetit!