When you’re looking for that perfect idea to put together New Year’s Eve ideas for a menu, think about some of the traditional foods that different cultures and societies have used to represent health, wealth and prosperity in the new year. Adding some of these “good luck foods” can make your New Year’s Eve party authentic and meaningful.
Pork and Sauerkraut
People in various countries, including some American states, are generally familiar with the traditional New Year’s dish of pork and sauerkraut. In general, some societies consider pork to be good luck, and eat this protein rich meat on New Year’s Eve.
Somehow, the color green came to be associated with good luck at the new year. Americans tend to reinforce this idea because green is the color of American money. Adding greens like kale, collard greens, mustard greens, brussels sprouts or some other green vegetable to your menu can help in two ways. It adds that green color that some associate with New Year’s and also gives your guests a health boost through the antioxidants and other great nutritional elements associated with fresh green produce.
In some cultures, eating 12 grapes at New Year’s represents good luck in all 12 months of the coming year. This is a simple menu addition that can make your New Year’s Eve party a little more vibrant.
When December leads into January, some people like to provide a take on two different good luck traditions. One is the general appeal of round foods, like bagels and doughnuts. The other is a take on the classic New Orleans “King Cake” tradition at Mardi Gras. Either of these provide the motivation for adding these uniquely shaped baked goods to your New Year’s menu.
Some people like to eat various kinds of beans or legumes at New Year’s. Black eyed peas are a favorite for some, because their spotted coloration is associated with good luck. Others like to use green lentils.
In other traditions, the silver color of fish is also associated with affluence or prosperity. Different subcultures enjoy fish in different ways when the New Year rolls around.
In some places, caviar (or fish roe) is commonly associated with good luck on the new year. These days, those who want to adopt a different take on caviar can go healthier, and cheaper, with some faux-caviar made from yogurt or other similar foods. Think about adding this kind of “side dish” for a unique kind of New Year appeal.
Consider all of the above for making your New Year’s party something that appeals to deeper traditions on what’s common for a happy new year. Putting together a New Year’s Eve menu is something that every household takes on a bit differently. Try to estimate your budget and fit foods in as they can be accommodated. It’s also a good idea to think about how food will keep until it’s time to chow down, and how it will store during the party or afterward.
With a little attention to some classic traditions, you can set up a New Year’s meal that will impress your guests and start the year off right.