Divas on a Dime: Traditional dishes bring luck in the New Year

As we get ready to welcome 2018, we hope that the New Year brings us health, wealth and oodles of good luck.

Even if you’re not ordinarily a superstitious person, why not enjoy some fun foodie traditions from around the world said to bring good fortune?

Lentils. All over Italy, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Brazil people welcome in the New Year with various lentil dishes. The small legumes symbolize coins in abundance. Get your piggy bank ready! Speaking of piggys …

Pork. Lots of people consider pork to be among the luckiest of all foods to eat on New Year’s Day. You see, pigs “root forward” with their noses, which symbolizes progress. Because of its fat, pork brings a rich new year. Pigs are plump, which represents prosperity (thankfully not weight gain!). You can choose to consume your pig o’ good fortune many ways, including ham, bacon, sausage, ham hocks, pancetta, pulled pork, bacon, pork chops, bacon, more bacon … sorry, what was I talking about?

Grapes. The Spanish, Portuguese and Mexican people mark the New Year by eating a dozen grapes at midnight. One for each chime as the clock strikes twelve. The grapes represent each month of year ahead. Each sweet grape represents a good month, each sour grape a not-so-good month.

Circular foods. Doughnuts? Bagels? Bundt cakes? Bring it! It’s said they bring good luck and represent coming full circle.

Soba Noodles. Or buckwheat noodles, are customarily eaten in Japan at midnight on Dec. 31, when they are called toshi-koshi (“from one year to another”) soba. They signify long life, but only if you eat them without breaking or chewing them.

Greens. In the U.S., especially the Southern states, collards and other greens are considered lucky because they look like paper money in abundance. Who doesn’t want that?

Black Eyed Peas. In the South, eating black-eyed peas shows humility. Mix the legumes with rice and they represent abundance and invite good fortune, as found in this traditional Southern recipe for Hoppin’ John.


Yield: 8 servings

Time: 25 minutes

This is excellent served with ham, collards and cornbread. All the luck!

What You’ll Need:

2 cups (12 oz.) black-eye peas, cooked

2 cups rice, cooked

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

Garlic powder, salt and pepper

Hot sauce – optional

Here’s How:

If you’re using dried black-eyed peas, just soak them in cool water for about 6 hours before using them. I used frozen and simmered them in 1 ½ cups water for 20 minutes. May I assume you can cook rice? Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Season liberally with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add peas and rice and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Of course, I believe we make our own luck but the connection we feel when we embrace these cultural traditions reminds us who we are, where we come from and the universal desire to prosper. Cheers to a very Happy New Year!

Frugal Festivity from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com. Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.