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Happy New Year from The Sukhothai Kitchen

Posted: December 31, 2009

Hi there,

On the last day of the year I like to dress up and stay home with my family and friends. I want nothing more than to give great dinner parties, but like everyone else, I am usually too busy to do it.

Since I am superstitious, I figure I might as well eat food that is supposed to bring me good luck. Every country has its own traditions for seeing in the New New Year. In Italy people often eat lentils and sausages just after midnight. Lentil dishes also symbolize good luck for New Year's in Germany and Brazil. In Turkey pomegranates symbolize good luck for the coming year because of the red color and the shape of the seeds, which represent money and prosperity. In the US eating vegetables such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, chard, or kale for New Year's seems to be associated with the idea that the folded greens symbolize money and are thought to bring good fortune. In Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, and Peru, it is often traditional to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, one for each month in the coming year. Some people say the name of the month as they eat each grape, and if that grape is sweet, it will be a good month. In Greece, sweet breads often contain coins, and the person who gets the slice with the coin will have good luck that year. In Japan, Buckwheat Soba noodles are an important part of the Japanese New Year Celebrations. The long noodles are meant to symbolize long life, and you should take care to eat them without breaking the noodles. The Chinese like to eat eggs for fertility, braised mushrooms because their shape resembles coins and represent wealth. The more mushrooms you serve, the greater the fortune. Spring rolls resemble the shape of gold bars for wealth and prosperity.

Since I am in Thailand, I will eat plenty of fresh sweet river prawns with chilies for plenty of luck, steamed giant mud crab with garlic-chili dressing for plenty of money, and ripe mango with sticky rice for additional prosperity.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very "Happy New Year"!

Thank you.

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