What’s the best food for New Year’s Day? The food that brings you good luck, of course.
Lucky foods for New Year’s might mean a fish fry to ensure long life or a big pot of collards guaranteeing plenty of cash. Fried oysters, grilled oysters or oyster stew could help in the, um, romance department – if you believe.
We dug through Coastal Review Online’s recipe files to find our favorite New Year’s lucky foods. The big bonus is they all go well together, which means you can guarantee yourself good fortune, prosperity, longevity and true love all in one meal.
Some people believe black-eyed peas bring straight-up good luck. Others think they symbolize all the coins destined for your pocket in the coming year. Why? No one knows for sure. Black-eyed peas came to the New World on slave ships from Africa. After the Civil War, slaves were officially freed on Emancipation Day Jan. 1. Another theory pins the idea to good luck foods that Jewish communities served in the South. One of the most delicious recipes is Low Country hoppin’ john, a dish of black-eyed peas and rice seasoned with spices, onions and bacon, or other pork cuts like ham hocks, salt pork or fatback.
Get the recipe: Hoppin’ John
If you’ve lived in eastern North Carolina for any length of time, you know that you must eat collard greens on New Year’s Day if you plan to have plenty of money in the coming year. The vegetable’s color and thin leaves’ resemblance to greenbacks give the sense of banking cash, even if it is just in your belly.
Get the recipe: Classic Stewed Collards
“Eat fish, live longer. Eat oysters, love longer” are words often seen on bumper stickers along the North Carolina coast. In parts of the world, fish with shiny scales are considered a lucky New Year’s food because the scales resemble silver. The Japanese eat shrimp to assure long life. In China, it’s whole fish for the same reason. Fish’s promised effects are not all legends. Doctors agree that omega 3 fatty acids in oily fins like mullet, mackerel and bluefish are good for you. Oysters? That’s still a matter of opinion. No scientific studies prove they kindle the urge, but it’s always lucky to get an invitation to a New Year’s Day oyster roast.
Get the recipe: Fish Fry
Get the recipe: Mable Smith’s Baked Flounder with Potatoes
Get the recipe: Charcoal Mullet
Get the recipe: Oyster Stew
Get the recipe: Crab-stuffed Shrimp
As the saying goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.” Whether you believe it or not, you’re truly blessed when this trio lands on the dinner table. Whether it’s baked in corn-shaped molds, steamed as dumplings atop a pot full of collards or fried in a cast iron skillet, cornbread is tasty and filling. Don’t forget hushpuppies with fish. That’s cornbread, too.
Get the recipes: Traditional Southern-style Cornbread, Deep-fried Cornbread and Jalapeno Cornbread
Get the recipe: Sanitary Restaurant Hush Puppies from Morehead City