Janet's Notebook
Recipes to Bring You Luck this New Year

Greek New Year's Cake

Did you know there are old wives' tales that say if you eat certain foods on New Year's Day they will bring you good luck?

In Spain, the tradition is to consumer twelve grapes at midnight (one for each month of the year). And in Sweden and Norway, they hide an almond in rice pudding. Whoever finds the almond will have great fortune in the year ahead.

Cabbage is also considered a good luck vegetable because the green leaves are considered a sign of prosperity. So this New Year's Day, why not have a pot of Mike Killebrew's Cabbage and Sausage Soup simmering on the stove. It's a delightful soup to warm you - body and soul - on a cold day. The combination of the cabbage and smoked sausage is very tasty, indeed.

Marcia McCance's Sauerkraut and Pork for New Year's Day also incorporates cabbage. "My mom used to make the best sauerkraut and pork on the planet," reminisces Marcia. "We used to have this every New Year's Day for our dinner and I still love it." The meat was so tender you could cut it with a fork... it's scrumptious. Pork is also a lucky New Year's Day food symbolizing wealth and prosperity. You'll be double lucky when you eat this!

Another delicious treat that's supposed to bring you wealth (because of the gold color) is one of my favorite things, cornbread. And one great recipe is Natalie Loop's Southern Cornbread. "Everyone I have ever made this for loves it," shares Natalie. One bite and you'll love it too. With a hint of heat and loads of flavor, it's a delightful change from the traditional cornbread.

Many cultures believe anything shaped like a ring is good luck because it symbolizes the cycle of the year. Which means I can eat a bunch of doughnuts and not feel guilty!

One of my favorite's is Amy Herald's husbands' Pistachio Glazed Doughnuts. "[My husband] recently went through a doughnut phase," shares Amy. "The pistachio were by far the best of all the flavors he made!" These doughnuts have a really light, fluffy texture. And, the pistachios add great flavor and a nice little crunch. It would be great to start New Year's Day with one of these and a hot cup of coffee.

A fun way to end your day is with Nicole B.'s Greek New Year's Cake. "My mom makes this cake every new year," explains Nicole. "You slice the cake from oldest to youngest and that is the piece they eat. If you find the hidden coin you will have good luck for the year." Orange juice, anise and sesame seeds add an usual - but great - flavor to this moist, light cake. Your family will have fun finding the hidden goodie inside.

However you decide to ring in the new year, the Test Kitchen and I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy one!

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doreen evangelista - Jan 7, 2015
i also serve hoppin' john for new years; it's a versatile recipe allowing substitutions for a majority of the ingredients!
Miller Dora - Jan 5, 2015
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Barbara Gilkey - Jan 4, 2015
In Scotland the tradition says, have a man(not your family member) come at midnight. Give him a glass of Scotch and you will have luck all year. My Dad and a neighbor went to each other's house and had a BIG glass of Scotch neat. I am not sure about a year of luck,but both went home VERY happy.
Jann Cox - Jan 1, 2015
Our family tradition is to have fried potatoes and salt mackerel for breakfast on New years day, and of course black eyed peas.

We also burn Bay Berry candles through the night of New Years eve into New year, they burn until the burn out.
S G - Dec 31, 2014
In the South we always had black eyed peas, corn bread, fried potatoes & ham. That was a traditional New Year's Day meal for many in that area. Love the idea of the donut though.
This is a great place to read about all the different "area" foods that are almost always very good to eat & lots of fun to read about.
Paula Todora - Dec 31, 2014
When I moved from Texas to Seattle and made a big pot of black eyed peas for "good luck" my neighbors thought I had lost my mind! They had never heard of that before, and they had me dropping grapes into champagne for good luck.
Betsy Corcoran - Dec 31, 2014
We always have corned beef and cabbage, this is our favorite.
when fixing the corned beef and it is ready to eat put it in a dish
and mix brown sugar and spicey mustard put in microwave for
ten minutes, this makes it really good.
I fix mine in crock pot and let it cook all day..........
Rosi Tornetto - Dec 31, 2014
I love the idea of donuts its a good way to start the New Year! I also love Black Eyes Peas but unfortunately no one in my family likes them so I just make a little just for me.

In our family we have some Lentil Soup or Lentil mixed in a salad we call it Little Coins for prosperity for the new year.

No matter what nationality or what country we all come from, the one thing we all have in common is "Food" give us a few staples and we make a feast fit for a King.

May God Bless us all for a HAPPY, HEALTHY & WEALTHY NEW YEARS.
Carol Vavrek - Dec 30, 2014
When we were little, my aunt would make home made ravioli stuffed with spinich (for money) and cheese (for health) and home made sauce.. Yum!
linda hardin - Dec 30, 2014
Black-eyed peas are for blessings, cabbage or greens are for money, and hog jowls are for health
Laura Menzing - Dec 30, 2014
We were always told that the Germans always eat Pork for New Years because a pig will not go backwards only forward. So in the new year you should only move forward and not backward
Rhoda Friedman - Dec 30, 2014
For a long time now I've made a big pot of Hoppin John. Besides the black eyed peas and onions it has Italian sausage (hot and sweet) and can tomatoes, garlic and all kinds of spices. My husband's favorite.
karen kimbrough - Dec 30, 2014
Down South; we have always heard that if you eat black eyed peas you'd have plenty of jingling money and if you eat greens you'd have plenty of green money. The hog jowl was also included in the annual New Year's meal.
terry haskins - Dec 30, 2014
my family's tradition is ham (just because we love ham) black eyed peas (for good luck) cabbage and cornbread (both for prosperity) for New Year's dinner.
Teresa Jacobson - Dec 30, 2014
I like your plan of eating Doughnuts and not feeling guilty!! I'm on board for that!