Did you know you can eat your way to a more successful year this New Year?
That’s according to Southern tradition, anyway. Legend has it that putting certain foods on your holiday table will help bring fortune, prosperity, and progress to the year ahead.
Best of all, these good luck foods tend to be delicious. Here are four traditional dishes to start your year off right, plus lucky food substitutions for low-oxalate dieters.
Eat greens to earn green. This good luck food is associated with financial luck in American folklore. Most cooks choose collard greens, cabbage, or chard for this dish. However, low-oxalate dieters can choose mustard greens or kale for a lucky food substitution that will also promote kidney and urinary tract health.
Similar to greens, gold-colored cornbread is associated with gold itself, to bring wealth in the New Year. It’s a low-oxalate dish to welcome new fortunes. You can even choose a recipe with corn kernels mixed in to represent gold coins.
Black-eyed peas have a long history as a good luck food. One legend springs from the American Civil War, when Southerners are said to have survived on black-eyed peas after Union armies took other supplies. Another legend says black-eyed peas were eaten by former slaves in celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, when it took effect. This food has also been eaten for centuries on the Jewish New Year in Sephardic culture. More obviously, they swell when cooked, symbolizing prosperity.
For oxalate-sensitive eaters, no need to substitute this dish; black-eyed peas already carry low levels of oxalate.
In some cultures, pork represents progress and new beginnings, perhaps because they root forward as they eat (compared to, say, chickens, which scratch backward). The plump animal also represents abundance. Like most meats, pork carries low levels of oxalate.