Janet's Notebook
Good Luck is Just One Recipe Away

Grape and Bacon Spinach Salad

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get the New Year off to a terrific start! The best way I know to put my luckiest foot forward is to whip up a spread of good-luck foods. Superstition or not, I'm not taking any chances.

Now, depending on who you ask, you'll get all kinds of suggestions of the "right" food to eat for New Years. Growing up a Southern gal, I'm partial to the tradition of black-eyed peas. Sometimes referred to as Hoppin' John when mixed with rice, it's my feeling that black-eyed peas can be prepared any number of ways and still retain ample mojo. One of my favorite recipes comes from member Julie McLaughlin of Drummonds, TN. Her tasty pea salad incorporates garlic, vinegars, cumin, peppers and bacon for one a-list New Year treat with a bit of a bite.

"This is a recipe that I stumbled upon years ago and I tweaked it to my liking," says Julie. "It is also better the longer it sits."

Making Julie's recipe even more tempting is the age-old notion that bacon itself is believed to bring good luck. In fact, pork has had a place at year-end feasts for hundreds of years. The pig is said to symbolize progress and I have some German friends who still mark the occasion by decorating their table with miniature marzipan pigs! Not only are the sweet porkers cute, but they are said to represent "pushing forward" into a new year. (And between you and me, the marzipan almond paste tastes mighty good too! If you've never tried it, give Natasha Snell's easy Marzipan recipe a try.)

Natalie Tamminga of Gallup, NM has made quick work of her good luck feast. Her Grape & Bacon Spinach Salad includes three, count 'em THREE, New Year super foods! In addition to the forward-looking bacon, grapes are believe to represent the sweetness of the coming months while the spinach speaks to all your impending riches! Now if those aren't the makings of a tasty recipe, I don't know what is! Natalie's playful take on a classic wilted spinach salad will have you feeling love at first bite.

While all of these traditions can easily be boiled down to silly old superstition, there remains something very nostalgic about eating the same things each year. Even more comforting is the knowledge that we're dining on the same foods that our ancestors did generations before. The mere fact that we're here to enjoy another year - indeed, another meal - together is testament to all of our extraordinary good fortune. Here is to a prosperous and peaceful New Year!

More Stories... Subscribe to RSS

Carol Fischer - Jan 3, 2011
We have lived in South Carolina for 4 years and I saw a recipe for Hopping John with rice and collard greens on the side first time we tried it and it was good.
Goldie Barnhart - Jan 2, 2011

I attached a copy of a recipe for a cranberry sauce that sounded interesting. Good luck!
Goldie Barnhart - Jan 2, 2011
Well, my daughter has done with a cranberry beer before and it was excellent. Of course the alcohol cooks off leaving a delicious flavor. So Why not a cranberry sauce.
Barbara Bennett - Jan 2, 2011
I am going to make a ham(butt)tomorrow. Was wondering if anyone had a easy ingredients recipe for baking it. Has anyone heard of one with cranberry on it? thanks
Goldie Barnhart - Jan 2, 2011
Thanks Jan, it really does have good flavor. Writing it all down, so I don't forget.
Maybe I'll post it too.
Jan Mullikin - Jan 2, 2011
Yummmm! That sounds so good for a cold winter day!
Goldie Barnhart - Jan 1, 2011
Well girls I took the left over ham on bone, cooked down with onions, carrots, garlic and celery.
Added can black eyed beans, can northern beans both rinsed. Can Rotel tomatoes, can tomato, okra and corn. cooked some more then added a bunch of cut up escarole and 1/2 cup rice. Let that cook till the escarole and rice was cooked. That was so good! That's going to be our New Years Soup tradition from now on!
Jan Mullikin - Jan 1, 2011
I love the canned Glory mustard greens. I'm sure they're loaded with fat, but hey--it's New Year's!!
Your meal sounded wonderful!
JANIS GLISPY - Jan 1, 2011
Living in Alabama, I have always done the black-eye peas & greens for New Year's Day. I normally always have pork as well. Today I had black-eyes prepared in the crock pot (last night) with ham hock, steamed pork chops (in the microwave), mustard greens (canned "Glory" southern seasoned), mashed potatoes and corn bread.
The meal was wonderful!! :-)
Goldie Barnhart - Dec 31, 2010
My JAP friends please be careful if you go out tonight. DWI's are always heavier on New Years Eve.
Every body have a safe and wonderful NEW YEARS!!!!!!
Veronica Furnari - Dec 31, 2010
I made Pork,Dumplings and sauerkraut with Apple sauce on the side. I make large dumplings slice and lots of gravy on them. Good Luck and HAPPY NEW YEAR
Jan Mullikin - Dec 30, 2010
Ha! That's a thought. I will make ribs, sauerkraut, greens, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes and biscuits with honey for the two of us. Ymmmm--can't wait for tomorrow evening's dinner! Then January 1st, it's healthy eating time. We'll try again to lose some weight this year! or----I could do Reuben sandwiches, turnip greens with ham, black eyed peas and biscuits with honey. Hmmm--hard to decide!
Goldie Barnhart - Dec 30, 2010
hmmmmm, was thinking of putting the beans into the greens with some bacon. That's a thought though, hee hee less gas that way.
Jan Mullikin - Dec 30, 2010
Either throw in or throw out! Some countries throw dried beans up into the air! Others throw rice. LOL
Goldie Barnhart - Dec 30, 2010
Guess I should throw in some beans too!