Posted on : December 28th, 2017
Happy New Year! Good-bye 2017! Just let it go and remember that every new year, every new day, really, offers the promise of a brand new start. What do you wish to create this coming year? Let me help you make your dreams come true—with holiday traditions from around the world that are thought to bring good luck! And guess what? A lot of them include food and a few of them feature almonds!
In the United States, of course, it is traditional to toast the New Year with wine or champagne and kiss the one you love at the stroke of midnight. In German and English folklore, it was believed that the first person you met at the beginning of the new year could determine whether you had good or bad luck in the year to come. Best to hedge your bets and make sure someone you love is by your side and kiss them quick to ensure your year will be filled with joy!
Want to make that kiss even more exciting? Hold hands and leap in the air before that kiss! In Denmark people climb up on chairs and jump at the stroke of midnight. By taking their feet off the ground in the final moments of the year, they symbolically leave all the negativity (or “bad spirits”) of the previous year behind and leap into a brand new fresh one.
Ready for a few good luck charms for ringing in the New Year by eating? In Japan you’d eat noodle soup. Slurping long soba noodles—being careful not bite them!—is said to bring you long life. In Spain people quickly eat 12 sweet grapes at midnight to bring sweetness to every month of the year. In the U.S. South people eat black-eyed peas for luck in the New Year. Eat them with collard greens for money and cornbread for gold. Then we get to the idea of bringing good fortune to the ring of the year by eating circular food or those in the shape of a ring. Donuts, for example, are eaten in Holland. Yum! Sounds good to me! But now, finally, we get to some almond desserts!
Take the idea of cake in the shape of a ring, make various sizes of them out of almonds, sugar and egg whites, stack them to form something that looks a bit like a Christmas Tree, and decorate with white icing, flags or other items. That’s Kransekake, an amazing-looking dessert served in Norway and Denmark on special occasions like weddings, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. To be honest, there’s a reason to have this on special occasions—it’s way too time-consuming to make for an average day! But it sure is an impressive dessert! This recipe gave the most clear instructions designed using American measurements that I have seen. It uses natural almonds that are blanched and ground in a food processor and almond paste that they include instructions for as well. And it has the added benefits of being gluten, wheat, and butter-free!
Prefer something less daunting? Well then, now you’ve come to my favorite New Year’s Eve food tradition because it’s one of my favorite desserts and SO EASY! Make up your favorite rice pudding recipe (or buy some ready-made at the store—I have no shame when it comes to this kind of thing!). Spoon into serving dishes, dust with cinnamon and hide a whole almond in the center. The tradition—which comes from Sweden and Finland— is to hide the almond only in one dish. The lucky person who gets the almond has especially good luck for the entire year or even wins a prize. But why not give an almond to everyone? Spread that luck around! Here’s a traditional Swedish recipe, known as Julegrot or Risgrynsgröt.
May you have many wonderful blessings in the year to come!
1) Kransakake photo used by permission of Jonathunder (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons, 2) Swedish Rice Pudding photo used by permission of Caesar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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