I’ve always wanted to know more about the tradition of eating things like black-eyed peas or sauerkraut on New Year’s Day was all about.  There was certainly nothing ‘tradtional’ about my family growing up, least of all what we ate on January 1.  Well, here’s my chance to explore some food folklore (with one day to spare!  Does it ever slow down?) and perhaps, plan a menu for NEXT New Year’s Day…

Black-Eyed Peas

-Black-eyed peas are a traditional food found in the South and are thought to bring prosperity

-Nutrition: a great source of fiber and potassium

-Try these: Hoppin’ John or Baked Black-Eyed Peas


-Cabbage is a common good-luck food in parts of the United States, Germany and Ireland

-It’s thought to bring luck and fortune because it’s green and resembles money

-Nutrition: high in Vitamins A, C and K, as well as antioxidants

-Try these: Cabbage with Ginger and Cumin, Sauerkraut with Apples


-Lentils are shaped like little coins and are often eaten in Italy on New Year’s Day

-Nutrition: high in fiber, B Vitamins and protein

-Try this: Lentil, Kielbasa and Garlic Stew


-These large, red orbs are associated with fertility and abundance in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries

-Nutrition: high in antioxidant properties

-Try these: Waldorf Salad Deluxe, Barley and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds


-In Asian countries, noodles are thought to symbolize a long life–just don’t break them first!

-Nutrition: Soba noodles are lower in calories and higher in protein and slow-releasing carbs than traditional white-flour noodles

-Try this: Soba Noodles with Snow Peas, Carrot and Shrimp


Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician.  She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related.  An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy.  Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive!  You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.