Yesterday, I went with my grandma for our annual pre-New Year’s grocery shopping trip to Uwajimaya in Seattle to gather the foods that we’ll eat to celebrate the New Year. We buy (or our family in Japan sends us) some of the traditional foods for osechi ryori (traditional Japanese New Year’s foods), such as sweet black beans (kuromame), sardines cooked in soy sauce (tazukuri) and other goodies. We also have our own family tradition: we set up a hot plate and make yakiniku, thin-sliced beef and vegetables. And the night before, we’re supposed to eat long noodles and spread salt around the house, for long life and stop evil spirits from coming in.
Other Japanese families celebrate by making mochi rice cakes, as they do every year on Bainbridge Island (this year’s Mochi Tsuki is on Sunday.)
So it becomes inevitable that New Years and foods are linked together in my head. It seems every culture has some sort of New Year tradition surrounding food, from grapes carried on New Year’s Eve in parts of Europe to black-eyed peas eaten in the South. Travel guru Rick Steves even hosted a show about International New Year’s Eve, and nearly all the guests mentioned some sort of food.
So with that said, I’d love to hear and share some of your traditional New Year’s celebrations involving food. What do you eat and why?