Ring in the New Year with good food

Published 6:14 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

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On Monday, January 1, 2024, a new day will dawn in this Old World.

The New Year will be welcomed in many ways. As clocks tick-tock to the arrival of a diapered New Year’s baby, anxious and excited crowds will await the dropping of everything from the New York City’s Time Square Ball Drop to Samson, Alabama’s Snuff Can Drop.

And, of course, on New Year’s Day, grills will be fired across the land and a football frenzy of bets will be made; money will be won and lost. However, no matter where one abides or how old or young or rich or poor, meals will be superstitiously prepared in belief that the food eaten will determine whether or not the year 2024 will be prosperous.

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Grapes, Champaign and anything comparable will be consumed by those who have little faith in the power of greens. However, down South, folks believe that eating “greens” to include -collards, mustard, turnips and cabbage will bring prosperity in the New Year.

Because hogs always root forward, eating any form of hog meat—mainly, hog jowl,  and  sausage, white meat and fatback –will guarantee moving forward successfully in life throughout the New Year.

There lingers the question do people really believe that what one eats on New Year’s Day will determine whether the New Year will bring feast or famine?

Steve Garrett, owner of the Piggly Wiggly stores in Troy, can’t say for sure but, but he does know “for sure” that there will be a food frenzy for hog meat, greens and dry peas on New Year’s Day.

“Always,” Garrett said. “Always. I don’t know if people believe in the food superstitions or whether they just like greens, dry peas and hog meat.”

And, Garrett makes sure that his Piggly Wiggly stores are up and ready for New Year’s Day.

“Hog meat is a big item so I ordered between four- and five-thousand pounds of hog jowl which is a cut of meat from the pig’s cheek,” Garrett said. “Hog jowl is used for cooking greens and peas or just for the enjoyment of eating good meat. Of course, any pork is always good.”

Garrett said his stores are well-stocked with dry-peas and greens of all kinds- mustard, turnips, collards and cabbage- and with hog meat from the jowls to the pig tail and everything in between.

Chitterlings’s are big sale items around at New Year’s but are hard to get,” Garrett said.

“Chitterlings can be fried or boiled but, no matter which way they are cooked, you’ll need to open the windows and doors.”

For New Year’s desserts, anything round like bundt cakes, doughnuts, layer cakes and cookies are all believed to bring a full circle of good luck on New Year’s day.