Food Traditions and the New Year

It's nearly New Year's Eve, the day we say goodbye to one year and look ahead to the next. I know I'm not alone in being ready to put this particular year in the rear view mirror, but it is the looking ahead part that I want to focus on here. Every culture has its own traditions when it comes to celebrating the start of a new year, and, not surprisingly, many of those traditions involve food. Though there are countless from which to choose, here are the New Year's food traditions that we'll be incorporating this year.

12 Lucky Grapes

For many, the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve calls for the popping of champagne corks or a kiss. In Spain, however, tradition calls for eating 12 grapes at midnight - one for each stroke of the clock - to bring good luck in the new year. Pro tip: Find the smallest grapes you can because this is much harder than you think it's going to be. ;-)

Pomegranates and Other Round Fruit

A symbol worldwide of abundance and fertility, pomegranates are eaten on New Year's to bring luck, especially to those seeking to expand their families. The same is true of fruit in general in the Filipino culture, where they eat twelve round fruits on New Year's Eve - one for each month of the new year. This year, I'm making this Scallop Crudo on New Year's Eve, which incorporates pomegranates and mangoes. Oh, and we'll certainly be adding some pomegranate seeds to our champagne for a festive (and lucky) touch.