We’re counting down the final days of 2018, which means New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. Planning a celebratory soirée? Why not take inspiration from the many cultures across the world who line their tables with foods that promise better chances at wealth, health, and good fortune? We’ve rounded up a collection of these lucky new year's recipes for a party menu guaranteed to kick 2019 off on the right foot.
Green Eyed Bandit (pictured above)
Greens such as collards on New Year’s are said to represent the cold, hard cash destined for your wallet in the coming year. If eating them is supposed to be lucky, then drinking them can only be better! This cocktail recipe from Tiffanie Barriere of the Drinking Coach in Atlanta incorporates bright green collard juice and gin to make getting your greens a simple as picking up a glass.
Champagne may be a New Year’s Eve mainstay, but if you’re looking to mix up your bubbly offering, this cocktail from James Beard Award–winning NoMad Bar is the perfect solution. Striking the perfect balance between sweet and bitter, this cocktail is composed of classic bar staples that you will be happy to have on hand for future get-togethers, and will add a touch of distinction to your bubbles for the toast when the ball drops.
Hoppin' John Fritters
Hoppin’ John has long been a New Year’s Day tradition in Southern cuisine, first appearing in a cookbook in 1847. Typically served as a stewed dish of black-eyed peas, rice, and pork, this hearty meal with West African roots is said to bring all who eat it good luck and prosperity in the coming year. These fritters transform the South Carolina classic into a crispy and delightful finger food, perfect for soaking up that first round of drinks.
Mama Chang's Pork and Chive Dumplings (pictured above)
In Chinese culture, making and eating dumplings on the eve of the Lunar New Year brings heaps of good luck and wealth. James Beard Award–winning chef Karen Akunowicz shares her recipe for these crowd-pleasing dumplings, which contain two foods said to be lucky—pork and cabbage.
Glazed Pork Ribs (pictured above)
Across many cultures, pork represents wealth, as it was once reserved for the higher classes, but it also stands for progress, since pigs root forward in soil in search of food. James Beard Award winners Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski promise this recipe will yield impressive, super-tender, yet easy to make ribs that slowly bake as you prepare the rest of your celebratory feast.
Porcini-Braised Chicken Thighs
In German culture, red and white toadstool mushrooms are a symbol of luck around the holidays and into the new year. Alas, these glückspilze also happen to be an inedible type of mushroom, so we offer this rich, flavorful, porcini-braised chicken in its place to bring you and your guests the luckiest year yet.
Sunshine Cake (pictured above)
In Denmark and other places, enjoying a ring-shaped confection on New Year’s Eve signifies the year coming full-circle. This gorgeous cake contains vanilla custard filling and an airy, citrusy frosting. Plus, we could all use some sunshine at this time of year.
Concord Grape Pie
In Spain and Portugal, eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight is said to represent the next 12 months ahead. Although grapes are a somewhat unconventional pie filling, grape pies are a specialty in New York’s Finger Lake wine region where the fruit is abundant. Impress your guests with James Beard’s recipe for this fan-favorite pie.
Hungry for more? View our entire recipe collection.
Erin Silva is media intern at the Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.