I've never been a fan of New Years. It seems like a raucous holiday where people allow themselves to be loud and drunken. Perhaps it has just been years of urban living that has made me a little bitter. We'd prefer to go to bed early than to listen to air horns and gun shots leading up to midnight. Don't get me wrong, I love champagne and toasting to a prosperous future and fortunate past. But that doesn't fit with family life with a young child. But beginning a new year does seem like a significant point in time to acknowledge. It's not just another holiday or a day off of work but a time to reflect and open ourselves up to the new opportunities we'll come across in a fresh year.
So I was looking around for some unknown to me New Years traditions that would fit our family (NO fireworks or red underware). That brought me back to food and the constant theme of prosperity. There is a great article here on some of the traditional foods and mythology behind them for New Years around the world. I'm burnt out on sweets after Christmas so that left out some wonderful baked goods. Hoppin' John is the American dish but I don't really feel like I have any southern roots to celebrate so I think I'll go Italian this year and try this recipe below.
Some other ideas from friends: eating 12 grapes, a crab feast, lighting candles or lanterns outside your front door, a night of boardgames. Any more suggestions?
Sausage With LentilsOur recipe forsalsiccia e lenticchie is a modern and convenient take on the traditional lentils and zampone. This recipe should serve 4 to 6 people and should be accompanied by mashed potatoes for the full Capodanno effect!
- 1 1/2 cups green lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 pound prosciutto, pancetta, or bacon, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 small fennel bulb, diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage with fennel
- 1 medium can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 small dried chili pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste