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Lucky You! Thirteen Foods to Bring Good Fortune in the New Year

Thirteen Foods to Bring Good Fortune in the New Year
December 21, 2020

The following story was written by Heinen’s partner Elaine T. Cicora.

What if we told you that health, wealth and happiness could all be yours in 2021, depending on your New Year’s menu?

That’s the premise behind “lucky” foods – an assortment of good things to eat (and a few to drink!) that promise good fortune in the coming year. Drawn from diverse cultures and traditions, here are 13 items said to bring good luck when consumed on January 1.

1. Pork

In German and Eastern European traditions, eating pork on New Year’s Day is said to ensure progress. The notion was inspired by pigs’ industrious barnyard behavior: They keep their snouts to the ground and root ever forward.

2. Sauerkraut

Scoop up some sauerkraut with that pork, and wait for the greenbacks to roll in. Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, right? Cabbage is green. Money is green, too. Ergo, if you want more money, eat sauerkraut on New Year’s Day.

Check out this Recipe for Pork and Sauerkraut Balls.

Pork and Sauerkraut Balls

3. Grapes

A Spanish alternative to the Times Square ball drop, “the twelve grapes of luck” is a New Year’s Eve tradition thought to bring a year’s worth of prosperity and good fortune. Just pop one grape in your mouth with each stroke of the clock at midnight.

4. Long Noodles

Lush and lanky, long noodles mean good luck in many Asian cultures. Their length symbolizes longevity, so don’t let them break until they’re safely in your mouth.

5. Fish

For many seafaring cultures, fish is an especially auspicious New Year’s food. Their shiny scales look like coins – meaning money; and they’re always swimming forward –meaning progress. (Do be sure to avoid catfish, though: Nobody wants to be a bottom feeder!)

Check out this Recipe for Salmon and Sesame Noodles.

Salmon and Sesame Noodles

6. Greens

Oh, the color of cold, hard cash! No wonder a big mess of collards (or other leafy greens) will bring prosperity, according to Southern food traditions. (Bonus: A bunch left hanging by the front door will ward off evil spirits!)

7. Pomegranates

Want a fresh start in the New Year? Eat a pomegranate. In countries like Turkey and Greece, the vibrant red fruit has long been a token of good luck, its color and abundant seeds representing life, fertility and renewal. (While we have yet to receive official confirmation of this, we suspect a pomegranate martini could be pretty lucky, too!)

Check out this Recipe for Marinated Lamb Chops with Mint Pomegranate Chimichurri.

Marinated Lamb Chops with Mint Pomegranate Chimichurri

8. Black-Eyed Peas

This dried legume is frequently found on Southern and African-American tables, often in close proximity to those collard greens. Because black-eyed peas expand while cooking, tradition holds that eating them will bring abundance.

9. Cornbread

As richly colored as a golden nugget, cornbread is another good-luck staple on Southern tables, prized for its alleged link to wealth.

Check out this Recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread.

Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread

10. Root Vegetables

According to India’s Ayurvedic traditions, a plant’s roots are its source of stability and balance. Therefore, if you wish to head into the new year feeling calm and grounded, add potatoes, carrots, beets or other root veggies to your menu on New Year’s Day.

11. Cake

We always knew dessert was good luck, but now it’s official! Cakes, doughnuts and other similarly ring-shaped baked goods are almost universally thought to represent the fullness of life and the annual process of “coming full circle.” Many cultures bake a coin inside for an additional dollop of New Year’s good fortune.

Check out this Recipe for Peppermint Brownies.

Peppermint Brownies

12. Nuts

Little packets of new life, nuts are favored for gifting on New Year’s Day in many cultures, where they are thought to represent a fresh start.

13. Champagne

There are as many reasons to greet the New Year with champagne as there are stars in the sky. Thanks to its long association with French nobility, champagne is almost synonymous with indulgence and wealth. The pop of the cork is like a tiny burst of fireworks (perfect for fending off evil spirits), and when the festive bubbles tickle your nose, it’s impossible not to smile.

Check out this Recipe for a Champagne Cranberry Fizz Cocktail.

Champagne Cranberry Fizz Cocktail

We raise our glass to all of you! Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

By Elaine Cicora
Elaine T. Cicora is a well-seasoned food writer, restaurant critic and editor whose byline has appeared in publications including Scene, Edible Cleveland, Cleveland Magazine and The New York Times. Her work has been recognized with awards from the James Beard Foundation, the Society for Professional Journalists, the Cleveland Press Club, the Association of Food Journalists and Les Dames d'Escoffier International, who honored her with the MFK Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing. When not growing, cooking, eating or writing about food, Elaine can often be found on her bicycle, trying to pedal away the consequences. Head Shot Credit: Beth Segal Photography

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