Cocktail

Best of The Hotline: New Year's Day Traditions

December 27, 2014

Some questions on the Hotline have staying power, and for good reason -- they cover the questions we ask ourselves time and time again. Join us as we revisit some of the most popular.

Today: New Year's Day always brings special dishes to the table -- here are a few of our favorites.

A few years ago, boulangere sparked a lively discussion on the Hotline, asking fellow Food52ers for their New Year's Day traditions. Whether a traditional meal, a food resolution, or a hangover cure, it's all fair game, and we loved hearing about all of them.

Nothing says New Year's like a glass of champagne -- and a fire pit:

  • Bevi says: "Most years we go to our good friends' local Italian restaurant and enjoy lobster ravioli. This year, we will be in the desert with close friends, probably toasting in the new year over a fire pit and some great champagne." 
  • AntoniaJames agrees with the fire pit plan: "We bought a fire pit as a Christmas present to all of us this year...we'll be sitting around it, enjoying hot toddies and whatever else people care to imbibe, to ring in the new year as well. With one twist: We set it up on the patio not far from our lap pool which we keep covered and heated for most of the year. There's a very good chance that I'll swim some laps in the steaming, lit pool, and by that I mean get a good workout, before enjoying my hot toddy. I cannot imagine a better way to welcome in the new year."

More: Change up your champagne game with these jazzy jello shots.

Crepe Cake

Put out a full spread (and maybe invite us over?):

  • Gingerroot says: "The first thing eaten on New Year's Day is always Japanese ozoni soup, a clear dashi broth with carrots, daikon, mizuna, a piece of mochi (glutinous rice cake), and my family includes clams. It is believed that one's good luck for the year hinges on a bowl of this auspicious soup so I always gulp down the clams, even though I don't care for them. It doubles as a pretty good hangover cure!" 
  • Vvvanessa goes all out: "A few years ago I started a New Year's Day crêpe party tradition, which my sister has also since adopted. I make many, many quarts of batter and all kinds of fillings: dulce de leche, lemon curd, ricotta, ratatouille, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and bacon to name a few. And there's peanut butter, honey, Nutella, powdered sugar, jam, and pretty much anything else I can pull out of the cupboard. It's fun to watch people feeling compelled to make THE BEST combination of fillings they can come up with and then encourage everyone else to try it (one of the most memorable was dulce de leche and bacon)."
  • Pierino recommends cotechino con lenticchie, saying: "Lentils are traditional at New Year because they symbolize coins."

A big plate of Hoppin' John will help you hop right into 2015:

  • ChefJune always make Hoppin' John, collard greens, and cornbread for New Year's Day, saying: "Other menus may vary, but this one is written in stone."
  • WeLikeToCook agrees: "We always have black-eyed peas, collard greens, and pork of some variety, while our Polish neighbors always have kielbasa and sauerkraut."
  • Sam1148 also has collards, ham, and black-eyed peas for New Year's Day, noting: "One tradition in the Southern U.S.A. which most people don't use now is putting a dime in the black-eyed peas. The person that gets the dime is supposed to have wealth and luck that year...or a visit from paramedics."

How do you ring in the new year? Tell us in the comments, or join in the conversation on the Hotline!

3 Comments

Alan S. December 28, 2014
Pork and sauerkraut for me. Mom always added brown sugar to the kraut to make it more palatable to us kids. Now I add it because that's the way mom did it.
 
Squeege December 28, 2014
Coming from German ancestry, I always have sauerkraut on the first day of the new year. I combine it with kielbasa or a pork roast. My children have always choked down the sauerkraut, but I think it's delicious. Having traveled or lived in various locations around the world, I also love incorporating other customs into my new year traditions. One of my favorites is the Spanish custom of eating 12 grapes at midnight. Although instead of choking them down quickly, I prefer to say a prayer or make a wish for the new year with each grape. Traditions connect us to the past and the willingness to incorporate "new traditions" keeps us fresh. Besides, it's fun.
 
luvcookbooks December 27, 2014
We gather with friends at an Irish bar in North Riverdale. We have been celebrating New Year (and many other occasions) with this group of friends for the past 20 years. Some people have moved and some travel to North Riverdale. Our parents have gotten older and some have passed, our kids have grown up (and one, sadly, has passed away) but we have on the whole remained faithful to each other through many eventful years. We drink excellent beer and ale, Maker's Mark, single malt whiskey... the bar serves appetizers... a family in our group used to cook for days and have us all over but this is nicer because they can hang out with us and not be exhausted.