Last Minute Cabbage

I’ve just realized I don’t have any sausage in the house. This isn’t that surprising, I’m not a sausage-loving person, but it’s NEW YEAR’S EVE. If I don’t have sausage and sauerkraut tomorrow, I’ll have a horrible year. I had sausage and sauerkraut last year; imagine how much worse this year would have been if I hadn’t.

You don’t eat sausage and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day? You must not be German. I’ve had sausage and sauerkraut on New Years for decades. No idea why, except that the sky will fall if I don’t. So I looked it up. It’s pork, not sausage (I could have been having bacon or pork chops all these years?) because pigs root forward, and the sauerkraut is actually cabbage (bok choy!) which stands for money. Or something.

So now I’m trying to figure out if I want to go out and get pork and sauerkraut or just stay home and count my blessings. It’s a stupid superstition, but . . . what I don’t do it? AAAAAAAAAArgh.

You got any do-this-or-the-new-year-will-be-a-disaster traditions? Tell me I’m not the only one. And if any of you have an eat-chocolate-or-the-sky-will-fall tradition, I’m adopting your heritage.

41 thoughts on “Last Minute Cabbage

  1. The only thing I must do on the 31st is call my youngest brother and wish him happy birthday. He’s one of my favourite people so it’s more pleasure than duty.

  2. I grew up in Oklahoma and here you have to eat blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day to have a prosperous year.

  3. We MUST have a drink have a drink (scotch) and wish our family and friends ‘lang may your lum reek’
    Alas not many friends left, and family scattered. Not a happy time anymore.

    Wishing all the Asher’s a very healthy and happy New Year.

  4. I always forget pork and sauerkraut is not a nationally known thing. As a central Pennsylvania native, I grew up with the tradition. My mom couldn’t stand the smell, so I only had it at other people’s houses. I haven’t had it for years, but now I really want this for dinner tomorrow.

    1. I like sauerkraut on hot dogs, so that’s what I’ve eaten on New Year’s Day since birth. I’m pretty sure my mother put some in my bottle from the beginning. We were serious about our superstitions.

      1. That’s a tradition I could get behind; I love sauerkraut. Though being Irish, it’s aleays in combination with corned beef.

        Ugh. Now I want a Reuben.

    2. Pork and sauerkraut for us, too (from NEPA). Of course, I left it to the last minute and couldn’t find any Bubbies kraut, so it’ll be Libby’s–which is fine; it’s what my grandma always used.

      1. I’m from NEPA, too. And it’s always pork and sauerkraut. I’ll be eating some ham and farro today. But, I will include some sauerkraut. Oh, and, seafood on New Year’s Eve.

  5. For a few years, we did the thing of writing down anything from the previous year that you wanted to let go of, and burning it in the fireplace. Seems a little lest significant if I am the only one doing it, but I might anyway if I end up with a fire tonight.

    My parents used to have an annual “day after” party in the afternoon on Jan 1. For which my mother would drive to Detroit to get real danish pastries from the Danish bakery, and make hot cheese puffs! It was always a good party with much talking and laughing.

    My only real new years tradition is eating lots of leftover cookies. It can be extended to include holiday chocolates, and all are welcome to adopt the practice.

  6. We’re a black eyed pea eating family. But maybe sausage and sauerkraut for lunch will become a new tradition. My husband just made a jar of kraut.

  7. No New Year’s food traditions, but we do asparagus, hard boiled eggs and potatoes on Good Friday (Dutch/Belgian tradition??). Not sure that’s for luck, though…

    1. I lived in Brussels for 11 years — New Year’s fare was usually oysters. Big packages (baskets) of them would start appearing a couple days beforehand.

  8. I’m spending the year end re-reading favorites. Finished Dogs and Goddesses, Welcome to Temptation. Moving on to Faking It next. They are my comfort food of books; successful, messy, happy women give me hope.

  9. The sky will not fall if I fail to do anything. I am the center of the universe – I will rise.

    No. No such traditions. Foodwise, turkey and French Canadian Pork Dressing were traditional at Thanksgiving and Christmas. For New Years, it was always ham. I always hated ham. I would eat a mandatory single slice or the starving Chinese people and fill up on side dishes like mashed potatoes and green beans.

    It turns out I don’t and never did hate ham. I may have mentioned a time or two (or twenty or thirty) that, as a cook, my mother belonged in the Hall of Infamy. I don’t know how she prepared the ham, though I do remember she stuck about a hundred cloves in it. Other peoples ham is pretty good.

    Once on my own, I shattered all those traditions. If I cooked at all, I cooked Cornish game hens, duck, goose, chicken or pork roast or beef. On New Years, I definitely went for beef dishes. This year, I’m thinking ham is pork, bacon is pork, bacon is as traditional as anything. No cloves!

    But then there is my obsession with the twelve days. Today is the Seventh Day of Christmas. Seven Swans a-swimmin’. (Busby Berkeley musical?) I looked up the cost of one swan as a dinner choice -yoiks! and zounds! and other archaic exclamations. Swan is Off The Menu.

    Strangely enough, the Texas side of my family are from Germany since 1848, but none of our dietary traditions on that side lean to sauerkraut.

    Enjoy what you can of 2019. See you next year.

    1. You know what’s a good way to cook ham? Coke. Not the sugar free variety. You baste the sucker with a gallon of Coke, and it makes the best glaze. I think Nigella Lawson has a recipe for it, but it’s also really common.

      1. I’ve heard that. My preferred ham is Black Forest deli sliced with baby Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato on some kind of bread. Rye bread is good, or Russian black bread or even pumpernickel. Or even white or wheat. Or I can buy prepared ham steaks, or Canadian bacon. It’s just me, so I don’t need a whole ham, even if the cola glaze is fabulous.

  10. My Dad’s family is from the South, so he likes black-eyed peas for New Years. He never makes them, but he likes them. I just went for a taco, so I brought some excellent tamales home, another tradition he grew up with.
    My personal tradition is plenty of bubbly wine.

  11. My New Year’s Day culinary memory might be cold pizza for breakfast. If my parents were going out for NYE my mom would often have frozen pizza for the kids to eat while Mom and Dad were at a friend’s house for the annual “unparty”. If the unparty was at our house, there would be some interesting leftovers for breakfast, but since we had neither a finished basement nor a rec room, that party was rarely at our house.
    I think Champagne and chocolate are a good way to start New Year’s Day but I think they are a good way to start every day.

  12. Pork, black eyed peas and greens of some sort are a must. And I (snicker snicker snort) think I’m not superstitious.

  13. Knockwurst and sauerkraut with German potato salad, I can’t stand the brine in sauerkraut so I rinse it off and heat it with diced apples a little celery seed and crumpled cooked bacon so there is just a hint of brine. Now I’m hungry for it

    Today we were just going to take the tree down but got on a roll and took everything down and put away. Of course I looked in the living room and there always is one thing forgotten. This time it was a Santa hanging off a door knob.

    1. I lied about everything being put away. This time it’s the cards to sort out and separate the family pictures from the Christmas letters and cards. The pictures to go into a box with the letters and the cards I save in a basket and add too it throughout the year with other cards we get. It’s fun to go through them at the end of year and reminisce. I have to say that I’m always intimidated by Christmas letters.

  14. We’re in Texas. We have black-eyed peas (luck), greens (prosperity), and cornbread (just cause). I only like cornbread, and I’ve survived and even thrived for 50+ years. So I don’t eat, but I’m nervous. Lol.

  15. No food traditions. When the kids were little, we made confetti and threw it at midnight, then left it on the floor for a week. It was cool to see how it got tracked through our flat. And my husband enjoyed making it vanish with his Electrolux vacuum.

  16. My DH has been raised on the Southern traditions of pork, black-eyed peas and collards. Apparently the collards are for folding money, while the peas are for change. As a result we’re putting a pork butt in the crock pot first thing tomorrow morning (and opening a can of collards). He’s promised he’ll cook the peas.

    My family never did any of this that I remember, even though my Mom was from Philly and my Dad from Texas. He doesn’t like any of those Southern thing, so no need to cook for that. The only Pennsylvania thing I remember that my Mom tried to make us eat with any regularity was scrapple. Yuck. No takers here!

  17. Our family tradition as a child was to go out into the back yard at midnight and bang pot lids together (instead of shooting guns – we are rural people). my kids and I have no tradition so tonight will just be another night.

    I am not looking forward to this new year, but that may be me not wanting to go into the new year without my big yellow fuzzy companion. I love the little dogs but they are their own selves and not Moose. Pippin is very independent, almost like a cat, and Oreo-Rolo is possessive and an attention hog she isn’t my big bear.

    I need a new tradition. I’ll think about it and start next year. It’s a little late now for this year. Maybe I’ll write something. That seems like a tradition I could keep.

  18. Black-eyed peas and cornbread for dinner. That’s from my (Texas) side of the family. For breakfast, my husband makes Eggs Benedict. That tradition started with our family. : )

  19. I usually drink champagne, even when by myself (which is most years) but I used the last bottle at our Yule dinner party and haven’t gotten more yet.

    I’m sure if I eat bacon for breakfast, that will make up for it, right Jenny?

  20. Reading all the comments made me hungry, so I dashed to the local grocers. My dinner tonight turned into pork chops stuffed with cornbread, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower on one side and brown rice on the other, served with 5 ounces of Port wine that was opened last summer. A quick Google says I should have tossed the wine a week after opening. Two weeks if it’s only for cooking. Oops. I will ring in the new decade with diet root beer.

  21. My grandmother always ate black-eyed peas with hog jowl on New Year’s Day. She ate black-eyed peas all year, but that was the only time she ate hog jowl. There must be something about pork. I don’t remember her eating greens with it. She had it for breakfast. All her other relatives snorted and said “Superstition!” and she was embarrassed but she always did it anyway.

  22. We don’t exactly have a food tradition but since 2002 we have thrown a party for friends and their kids. It started when ours were 11 and 5 and we figured we couldn’t get sitters and neither could our friends so we should just have a party together. We missed two years when we were living in a small apartment. The biggest it ever got was 72 people; this year we had a mere 59; the youngest was 1 and the oldest must be in her 80s or 90s. It always included roast beef and roast chicken; the last few years it also has included a cheese bar with about 20 cheeses. Since most of our guests are now adults we no longer have a chocolate fountain (the mess of small kids and a chocolate fountain is impressive as is tbe challenge of cleaning out the hardened chocolate the next day.)
    Then we live off leftovers for days.

      1. It’s such a tradition that one year I got four acceptances before the invitation went out including 2 who were scheduling their flights back from vacation to be there.

  23. Hmmm….reporting in here from Germany: no tradition of sausages and sauerkraut in sight. Neither the first in-laws (Berlin), the second in-laws (Essen — Ruhr Valley) nor with my German immigrant grandparents (Prussian— emigrated in the 1920s).

    We had guests last night and had fondue — the meat kind, not the cheese. The fondue pot has broth in it and you spear bite-sized pieces of meat on cook them in the broth. (You get the meat already cut at the butcher – I bought beef, pork and turkey.) We had a green salad, an assortment of dipping sauces for the meat and dessert was fresh grapes (I had mousse au chocolat and tiramisu on hand but nobody wanted anything but grapes.)

    Everybody ended up staying until 3 a.m. so I am really beat today… 🥱

    1. Reminded me of our tradition of fondues with the neighbours and our kiddos until the mid teenage years arrived. Just we adults kept up the tradition for a few more years. Both the cheese fondues and the meat fondues. So good.

  24. We have fondue on New Year’s Eve — this year we also had it early before my son and daughter-in-law left. With lots of champagne.

    New Years Day we have cake because my mother-in-law baked a sheet cake each year that we were living with her (before we could afford a house in the early 1980s). The roast has varied; this year it’s upside down chicken — put a fryer in a cold oven, set the heat for 425 F and timer for 45 minutes. When the timer blasts, turn the chicken upside down and set timer for 45 minutes. It will be done when timer goes off. (Before sticking it in the oven, I put olive oil, herbs, and whatever stuff seems interesting into and onto the bird. Tonight I had a leftover shallot and a hankering for tarragon.)

    On Jenny’s request for different New Year’s upsets, my step father and grandmother both died during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. I thought it subtly changed the holidays a little bit into memorials. As my friends have unfortunately lost loved ones, I see more of that in the way we celebrate the holidays.

  25. My husband and I aren’t Italian, so we don’t do the Feast of Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve. Instead, we do the Feast of Seven (or More) Appetizers for New Year’s Day. The menu varies from year to year, but generally includes stuffed mushrooms and those crock-pot-weenies-and-meatballs, plus whatever else we’re in the mood for.

  26. Yup. Pork and sauerkraut, preferably at midnight. I never noticed that it brought good luck, so I generally stick with the pork but not the kraut. And not at midnight.
    My self-created tradition for the 1st is to make sure I put into the day what I want to be part of my new year. So: a walk, some writing, some writing-for-pay, a nap, good food, chocolate.

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