Fortunately — since, by the time New Year’s Day rolls around, everybody is partied out and completely the crabmeat puffs and similar rich fancy party food, eaten standing up — most of these traditional good luck foods are simple: uncomplicated, unfussy, as easy to serve as to eat.
I always prepare dishes with ingredients in most of these categories at New Year’s.Greens: Leafy cooking greens — collards, kale, turnip, spinach, cabbage — are also associated with wealth — in this case, folding paper money. Golden foods: Go to a Chinese New Year celebration and you’ll see pyramidal stacks of oranges and pommelos (large, round yellow citrus fruits, which look like large grapefruits). Long noodles: This one is Chinese and only Chinese. The thing is, you need to slurp it, unbroken, into your mouth. Pork and fat: Think “high on the hog” and “fat of the land” and you’ll get the connection.Although cultures other than the American one make this symbolic link, it’s particularly strong in the U. Often, in the American South, the pork is a ham hock or hambone, thrown in to simmer with the beans, greens or both.Many find the texture of kale objectionable — its curliness, if it is not cut finely enough, can cause it to get caught in the throat — but this is not a problem with the flat-leaved, milder collard greens, especially given the method of slicing in this recipe: very thin slices, almost threadlike.One bite of these sprightly green ribbons and their couldn’t-be-simpler dressing, and you’ll be a convert.Usually, there’s honey cake and/or apple slices dipped in honey.