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Cooking Corner

January 7, 2012
Bernice Volkens , Reinbeck Courier

For many, the start of January offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. But instead of leaving everything to fate, many believe that a certain meal or foods will increase our good fortune. There are a variety of foods that are believed to be lucky and to improve that odds that next year will be a great one. Traditions vary from culture to culture; that is why I always fix feudens (fritters with raisins) on New Year's Day. It seems that is the only time I fix them any more unless I get a request from one of the kids, or grandkids. There are six categories of foods eaten world wide. They are grapes, greens, fish, pork legumes, cakes and breads.

Grapes - is to consume 1 grape for each stroke of the clock, so you start out the New Year eating 12 grapes. This is observed in most Spanish cultures. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking a 13th grape for good measure. Also if the 3rd grape is sour that is a sign that March won't be a good month This goes for the other months as well.

Cooked greens as a good food to eat in the New Year for a simple reason. The green leaves look like money and the more you eat the bigger your fortune will be in the New Year.

Pork is a common "good luck" food in many countries just because pork is high in fat content, which signifies wealth and prosperity.

Legumes including beans, peas, are symbolic and represent coins that swell and grow when they are cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. These foods are very popular in the southern states.

Fish, especially pickled herring is eaten from Christmas to New Years and is very popular with Scandinavian and other northern European countries. However, on the other side of the world those in Asia eat fish for a long and good life.

Cakes, or bread have to be round because this symbolizes a good start of the New Year to the end of the year. This can be fritters in German and Scandinavian countries to donuts in Holland. It can also be round cakes with trinkets inside for good luck.

With ideals what to eat there are also foods you should never eat like lobster because they move backwards and will only bring set backs in the new year. Chicken is also discouraged because it scratches backwards, therefore, a bad choice to eat; the same with any winged fowl because your luck could fly away. As you see there are many superstitions around the world, so keep in mind if you are in Germany on New Years it is customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year.

A bundt cake is a good ideal for the New Year, just because it's round, which means never-ending luck. By the way poppy seeds are also considered good luck in Balkan countries.

POPPY SEED BUNDT CAKE

1 (18 1/2 oz.) box butter

type yellow cake mix

1 (3 1/2 oz. pkg. instant

lemon or coconut

pudding mix

1 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

4 Tablespoons poppy

seeds

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, water and oil in large bowl. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, until blended. Stir in Poppy seeds.

Pour into a 12 cup bundt pan that has been greased and floured or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool 15 minutes, remove from the pan. Drizzle with the following glaze.

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon butter

3 Tablespoons lemon

juice

For a less sweet cake, omit the glaze and dust with powdered sugar at serving time.

"Time to enjoy the New Year and winter."

 
 

 

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