Though I'm not a believer in luck, I am a fan of traditions. They can be comforting as they mark the passing of time. It wasn't until I moved to the South that I heard of black eyed peas being the choice food for good luck in the new year, so I decided to look into it, among other foods deemed to be lucky..
Black eyed peas
According to Civil War historians, hungry Union soldiers raided the pantries of confederate families. They left behind the the peas and salt pork because it wasn't for human consumption. Those peas and the salt pork fed the confederate families, keeping them alive. This is how black eyed peas developed the reputation for good luck.
Instead of a humble dish on New Year's Day, you can incorporate black eyed peas into your New Year's Eve spread. Try making a dip with them, with plenty of garlic and cheese. I found this recipe, which almost seems like a Mexican queso dip rendition, with green chiles and onions.
In ancient Greece, hanging a bag of onions on your door was meant to symbolize growth and rebirth. Greeks realized that onions would sprout even when they were left alone. It was the ultimate sign for luck and fertility, and now in modern times, onions are consumed for good luck. Why not celebrate this traditon with air fryer onion rings?
With a color that resembles a vibrant heart which symbolizes life and fertility, and plentiful seeds representing prosperity, pomegranates are highly regarded as a good luck food. The tradition for New Year's Eve is to throw pomegranates on the ground, and the more they pop open, the more abundance your home will have. Personally, I think it's a waste of food and can create vicious stains. I say just eat them. They are my favorite topping on frozen yogurt. And they are heaven in the traditional Palestinian dip muhammara.
Dumplings are considered lucky in Chinese tradition becaue they resemble pouches filled with money and coins. Dumplings symbolize both prosperity and longevity, and they are the perfect cozy treat for chilly January weather. If you lay out a spread of dumplings, create a dipping sauce that is equal parts soy sauce and sesame, and if you're feeling adventurous, a dollop of chili crunch. For aesthetics, circle the dumplings in a round dish with the dipping sauce at the center of the plate, and dust the plate with sesame seeds.
In Spain and parts of Latin America, twelve green grapes are eaten at the stroke of midnight. The tradition is meant to ward off bad luck. Newspaper articles suggest that the tradition started in the 1880s, when Madrid's bourgeoisie copied the French tradition of eating grapes and drinking Champagne on the last day of the year. Whether you eat your grapes directly, or sip them in the form of Champagne, it sounds like a deliciously decadent way to ring in 2024.
Here's to a new year filled with health and happiness!