Starting off the new year with a bit of extra luck is never a bad thing. Our roundup of lucky foods from around the world is sure to brighten your year. As luck would have it, there are 13 options from which to choose, so you'll certainly find something fun and different to add to your menu.
Since they resemble coins, lentils are consumed in Italy on New Year's Day for good fortune in the coming year. Lentils are said to represent prosperity in Brazil and Germany as well. These legumes swell or grow during the cooking process, which can signify an increase in wealth to the eater.
Cabbage is considered to have lucky properties in the United States, Germany, and Ireland. Its green color resembles the color of money, and cabbage is linked to increased prosperity in these places. However, if you're purchasing cabbages for luck, be sure to purchase the green varietals and ignore the purple options.
We especially love cabbage in kimchi and in warm winter soups.
Black-eyed peas are actually edible black and white beans, and they are considered lucky in the Southern United States. Their magic has been linked to a Civil War battle in the state of Mississippi; the Confederate troops ran out of food while in the heat of battle, and then, by chance, they discovered some black-eyed peas. Since that fortuitous find, these beans have been in demand.
Try them as a fun side dish to change up your dinner menu.
Fish is considered lucky in many places: the Scandinavian countries, the United States, Germany, Poland, Italy, Japan, and China, to name a few. The silvery scales of fish resemble coins, and some people even keep them in their wallets to bring about an increase in wealth! Fish swim in one direction, so they symbolize moving forward in life. And since fish swim in schools, they are also linked to abundance.
In many Asian countries, long noodles are thought to lengthen one's life. Noodles can also represent the bridge from one year to the next. A bonus? Noodles are considered especially lucky if they do not break until they are in the eater's mouth.
Try this delicious pad Thai recipe to enjoy noodles at home.
Many cultures celebrate the pomegranate, which is one of the oldest fruits known to man. Even the ancient Egyptians exalted this plant; in fact, King Tut was buried with one, since pomegranates were thought to be connected to reincarnation. In Turkey, the fruit represents the human heart and is associated with long life and fertility. Some Greeks smash a pomegranate on their door at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, since the seeds signify good luck and prosperity. The more seeds that spill out, the more wealth and luck the household will have in the coming year.
Pork is another food that is considered lucky in various countries. In Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Austria, and Hungary, people enjoy it at each New Year's feast. Since pork used to be reserved for the wealthy, it is tied to prosperity and good fortune. Additionally, since pigs forage for food by pushing forward, some think that these animals signify progress.
Get pork two ways with our yummy bacon-wrapped tenderloin recipe.
Up next are cakes and doughnuts. In Greece, it's customary to hide a coin in a lemon cake shared among friends and family; whoever gets the slice with the coin will have a year of increased wealth. Similarly, the people of Norway and Sweden eat rice pudding with an almond hidden in it; the person who finds the nut is guaranteed a great fortune. In other areas, ring-shaped cakes are thought to represent continuity and coming full circle.
Grapes or dried grapes (raisins) are also considered lucky. Specifically, in Portugal and Spain, eating a dozen grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve is believed to bring good luck in the new year; each of the 12 grapes represents a different month of the year to come. The goodness of a month is tied to the sweet or sour factor of its grape. For example, if your sixth grape is super sour and not tasty, the sixth month of your year could be less than ideal.
We like grapes plain as a healthy snack or in our favorite wines.
Many different kinds of greens are thought to bring luck. Collard greens, for example, are supposed to increase the eater's wealth. Southerners in the United States believe that these greens look like the greenback Confederate currency from the time of the Civil War. In Denmark, cooked kale is said to bring prosperity.
We especially enjoy spinach, kale, and Swiss chard to get our greens in!
Orange slices are thought to be lucky, since they resemble coins. In the Philippines, 13 slices are enjoyed for prosperity. In Europe and the United States, 12 pieces are eaten to represent the 12 months of the year and in order to increase wealth throughout the year.
The tamale is a Mexican staple of meat baked or steamed in maize husks. Tamales are considered lucky and are eaten on special occasions to bring prosperity and good fortune.
We like them with a side of hominy.
We wish you a happy and healthy new year with a little extra luck and good fortune!