Make a Traditional Southern New Year’s Day Dinner

According to popular folklore, there are certain dishes a good Southerner should eat on New Year’s Day. These yummy dishes are designed to bring good luck throughout the year and are so delicious, we think you just might want to give them a try!

Start the New Year with these lucky Southern food traditions and you will be ready for a fantastic 2017! One example of a perfect New Year’s Day dinner menu is skillet cornbread, easily seasoned mustard greens, spicy black-eyed peas, hot cooked rice, and a fabulous peach upside-down cake.

Here is what each of the foods represent and what luck shall be cast upon the one who eats them!

Start the New Year With These Lucky Southern Food Traditions

  • Peas or Beans symbolize coins. Choose traditional black-eyed peas, or make lentils or a bean dish, seasoned with pork, ham, or sausage.
  • Greens resemble money; specifically, folding money. Use boiled cabbage or sauerkraut, collard greens, kale, chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, or other green, leafy vegetables.
  • Pork is considered a sign of prosperity in some cultures because pigs root forward. This is probably the reason many Southern New Year’s Day dishes contain pork or ham.
  • Cornbread might symbolize gold, and besides, it is essential with black-eyed peas and greens.
  • In other cultures, fish, grapes, and ring-shaped cakes or doughnuts or cakes with special treats inside symbolize luck.

What NOT to Eat on New Year’s Day

Some believe that lobster could cause bad luck in the coming year because it moves in a backward direction and could mean setbacks in the year ahead. For the same reason, chicken could be bad luck. They scratch backward, plus they are winged so your luck could fly away.

New Year’s Day Menu Suggestions and Recipes

Spicy Southern Black-Eyed PeasSalt pork, hog jowl, or ham hocks flavor this tasty dish of black-eyed peas.

Hot Cooked RiceRice is delicious with black-eyed peas, but not an essential element.

Mustard Greens With HamHam seasons these greens perfectly.

Classic Southern CornbreadAdd corn kernels to the cornbread for “gold coins.”

Down Home Fresh Peach CobblerThis Southern favorite will finish the meal nicely.

By Southern Food Expert Diana Rattray