December 20, 2009

Lucky Foods for the New Year (and where to find them at Flagstaff restaurants)

Would you believe that good luck in 2010 may be as simple as eating the right things to ring in the new year? All over the world, there are New Year’s customs that involve eating special foods to bring good fortune over the upcoming twelve months. Here’s a look at some of the customs and where you can find some of the foods in Flagstaff…

Southerners eat up black eyed peas and collard greens to bring luck in the new year. Tinderbox (34 South San Francisco Street, 226.8400) is your best bet in Flagstaff for some Southern charmed foods. (If you were wondering, the legend of the lucky black eyed peas comes out of Vicksburg, Virginia during the civil war. The town supposedly ran out of food but was saved when they discovered black eyed peas.)
Southerners also add corn bread to their New Year feasts, corn bread symbolizing the wealth of gold. You can find corn bread at Big Foot BBQ (120 N. Leroux, 226-1677), Beaver Street Brewery (11 Beaver Street, 779-0079), and Satchmo’s (1924 East Arrowhead, 774-7292).
Another on the lucky list: noodles. The Japanese find good fortune in them. Get served a tasty helping of Japanese-style noodles at Karma Sushi (6 E Rte 66, 774-6100) and Sakura (1175 Old Route 66, 773-9118).
Cabbage and sauerkraut are considered to bring luck. You can find authentic German sauerkraut at the Matterhorn Grill (103 S Birch, 226.7388). For cabbage, check out the Corned Beef and Cabbage at Collins Irish Pub (2 N Leroux, 214.7363). They’ve also got you covered with their Fish and Chips – made with lucky cod.
If all else fails – anything green from broccoli to lettuce to grapes, even green jello will supposedly buy you some new year’s luck, as green represents money. On that note, a salad’s got you easily covered with all the green. Add an extra blessing by adding shrimp (a Japanese food eaten at the new year to represent long life). So for that extra lucky, long life salad try the Southwestern Shrimp Caesar at Oregano’s (605 Riordan Road, 773.8600). Speaking of green things, keep 12 grapes in your pocket to eat at midnight. In Cuba and Spain, this is considered to bring good fortune in the 12 months ahead.
For your sweet tooth – consume your luck by devouring a filled donut, as is the tradition of several European countries. Stock up ahead of your New Year’s Eve bash with good ones from Malone’s Bakery & Deli (1490 S. Riordan Ranch Road, 913.0133) or Mountain Delights Bakery (inside the Flagstaff Mall).
Whatever you do – don’t eat lobster or chicken to ring in the new year, both are considered to bring bad luck.
But do leave a little something of each food on your plate, no matter what you order. It’s considered to symbolize a well stocked pantry and luck for the year ahead, at least according to the Germans.

Sources for background on lucky foods for the New Year: and

This story also will appear in Flagstaff Live's December 31, 2009 issue.


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