Old traditions get new flavors—and still bring good fortune in the new year.
Janus, the Roman god who gave January its name, was two-faced. Not in the saying-mean-things-behind-someone's back way. No, he had two faces on either side of his handsome head. Thus, he could look forward into the future and backwards into the past. But, in planning a New Year's Day brunch, we need neither two faces nor the Psychic's Hotline to make four predictions:
1. Everybody is partied-out: tired of fancy party food, eaten standing up in slinky, glittery, dry-clean-only garments. By New Year's Day, "simple" is sounding good.
2. A New Year's Brunch must be easy for the host. Incrementally done-ahead dishes are good. Unfussy, easy-to-serve dishes are good. Dishes that are easy on the post-holiday wallet are good, too.
3. Fancy, no; delicious, yes, of course. Even the most informal drop-in party is still a party. The food should taste good, and the atmosphere should be comfortable.
4. The food and the occasion should look forward, with hope. As at all beginnings, we may pray for wisdom, courage and humility. But it doesn't hurt to wish for good luck, too.
New Year's Day Good Luck Menu
East-West Black-Eyed Peas: The black-eyes peas are believed to symbolize prosperity in the new year.
Collard Green Salad: The verdant hue of the bitter greens is said to attract money in the coming new year.
Cheese and Black Pepper Cornbread: Legend has it the golden color of the corn bears a lucky resemblance to a different kind of gold.
Citrus Golden Ring Cake: The color and shape provide the New Year's luck with this cake: ring-shaped foods are said to keep good luck from flying away.
—By Crescent Dragonwagon
Pepper plays a starring role in this not-so-sweet but very cheesy cornbread.
The zesty greens in this Southern-style salad are a rich, tasty source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Black-eyed peas, a New Year’s Day must, team up with miso for a bicultural celebration.
This rich, lemony cake is dense and moist.