New Year’s dishes from around the world

Traditional New Year's foods aren't just a sign of good luck or prosperity, they're delicious dishes that culinary school students can prepare all year long.

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January 7, 2019 3 min read

New Year’s Eve and Day are a time for celebration across the globe. Those parties, gatherings and days off from work lend themselves to professional and home cooking, festive dishes and food with deep cultural roots. Boulder culinary school students can gain inspiration for 2019 by considering some popular New Year’s dishes from around the world.

Lucky New Year’s foods

As Good Housekeeping pointed out, good luck going into a new year is a common concept in cultures around the world. This common attribute ties together many different dishes that range from U.S. Southern cooking classics to traditional foods from nations in Asia, Africa and other continents.

Three pieces of pickled herring served on a white plate.Fish represent abundance and progress.

Simple yet powerful: The 12 grapes

In Spain, one of the simplest dishes – definitely more of a tradition than a meal – is a serving of exactly 12 grapes, consumed as the clock strikes midnight during the country’s annual countdown broadcast from Madrid. CNN said the practice is a relatively new one, as it started in the early 20th century and was potentially inspired by a bumper crop of the fruit produced in the south of Spain.

You can serve 12 grapes alongside a variety of dishes around New Year’s Eve and Day to inspire good luck without the close clock-watching followed in Spain. You can also consider adapting this practice to serve the same number of grapes as a customer’s age if they visit during a birthday celebration, offering a unique, memorable twist on providing good luck that is relevant all year long.

Greens reflect prosperity and wealth

Green has its obvious ties to envy, but it’s also a color tied to wealth and luck, as Good Housekeeping pointed out. Money, four-leaf clovers and similar symbols are easily tied to such foods, especially leafy greens from kale to collard. The versatility of greens is important to keep in mind. Whether you’re looking for a classic collard green dish that’s rich in flavor (and fat), like Taste of Home’s recipe, or more health-conscious preparations that focus on kale, there are plenty of options out there.

Of course, good luck offerings don’t have to be limited to the new year. You can serve a variety of greens to friends and customers alike and note the positive ties these dishes have to wealth and prosperity, no matter the time of the year.

Buckwheat soba noodles promise prosperity

Popular in Japan to ring in the new year, buckwheat soba noodles prepared in a traditional manner are yet another classic dish that focuses on bringing the best to those who eat them. This tradition is all the better because of the warm, filling nature of the meal and the diverse flavor it includes. A toshikoshi soba dish is just as delicious throughout the year as it is on New Year’s Eve, although it can be especially effective as a cold-weather meal.

London-based Japan Centre offered an authentic recipe for toshikoshi soba that, while requiring some specialized ingredients, is very close to the dish as it’s prepared in its home country.

Fish, which is a favorite dish

Good Housekeeping noted that fish have a number of positive associations with the new year, representing both abundance due to their social behavior and progress, due to their constant movement forward. There are so many fish dishes to consider that it’s hard to pin down a single New Year’s Eve or Day recipe. Consider simply choosing your favorite. You can also dive in-depth into learning how to prepare fish, among many other foods, through our culinary arts programs.

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