Every year, I eagerly look forward to New Year’s Eve. Not for the typical reasons; but for food, mochi, and quality time spent with my one and only family (isn’t that corny enough to be on a greeting card!?!)
Now – after minutes, hours, days, years of scientific research conducted via the world’s most accurate encyclopedia (Facebook), I have concluded that the typical New Year’s celebration consists of the 9 following stages…
Stage 1: Casually snacking.
Stage 2: Eating dinner with family or friends
Stage 3: Casually snacking
Stage 4: Making a New Year’s resolution of snacking less
Stage 5: Resolving to make a change
Stage 6: Watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve
Stage 7: Feeling miserable about what has happened to Dick Clark
Stage 8: Feeling so miserable about Dick Clark, that you snack even more
Stage 9: Snacking so much that you forget what your resolution even was…
My family mixes this up by fusing together the following New Year’s traditions from around the world, and making them our own while doing so.
Southern United States : A dish of black eyed peas. An old saying goes, “Eat peas on New Year’s to have plenty of everything else the rest of the year.”
China/Italy: Red underwear. Proceeding our family dinner, we read aloud a list of different New Year traditions. As soon as I heard that color red symbolizes success, loyalty, and happiness, I got so excited that I had to run out of the room and change my boxers.
Spain: Eating 12 grapes during the 12 seconds before midnight. Sweetness of the grapes determines how “sweet” the respective months will be. It ends up being a grape eating marathon, with little time to chew or swallow. But after the 6th one, someone usually starts laughing… and it all goes downhill from there.
And (most importantly) Japan: Mochi. This one (or two, depending on how one pronounces it) syllable word sends every family member in the Segal household in a rat race, scrambling to be first to the kitchen. Mochi is a Japanese version of a pounded rice cake served in various sweet and savory dishes, including some types of ice cream. But we only eat it one way- sauteed it to a golden crisp, and then dipped in tamari (soy sauce) and sesame seeds.
Happy New Year!