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Recipes for a happy new year

46 Recipes
Recipe: Crisp-skinned salmon with lentils, bacon and dandelion greens
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Symbolic foods may lead to good fortune.

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Superstition has it that the first day of a new year is symbolic of how the rest of the year will play out. If you sleep late, you’ll do that throughout the year. If you are productive, happy and polite, you will be so for the rest of the year. In the same vein, what you eat on the first day of the year may determine what and how you will eat all year — and may also have a hand in what life may bring your way.

Some foods are said to symbolize abundance and good fortune: black-eyed peas because they are so plentiful; greens because they are the color of money; lentils because they are coin-shaped; cornbread because it is the color of gold; and fish because they swim in schools and their scales look like coins. Pork is said to represent progress because pigs move forward when they eat. Round cakes represent coming full circle and often have a trinket baked in them; whoever gets the trinket will have good luck. Long noodles represent longevity. Round fruits, especially those with lots of seeds such as pomegranates, symbolize fertility and abundance.

In the South they eat Hoppin’ John, collard greens and cornbread in keeping with the saying, “peas for pennies, green for dollars and cornbread for gold.” In Germany and Eastern Europe they eat pork and sauerkraut. In the Philippines they eat 12 round fruits, one for each month of the year. In Spain they eat one grape for each stroke of midnight. In Scandinavia they eat herring. Throughout Asia they eat long noodles, being careful not to break the noodles because that would be bad luck; in Japan it’s udon and ramen, while in China it’s lo mein.

In deciding what to eat come New Year’s Day, you may want to keep these ingredients in mind. Here are 46 recipes that include one or more of these symbols of good fortune.

Jonathan Gold's Hoppin' John

Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Little Beast's black-eyed pea hummus

Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 3 ½ cups

Black-eyed peas with leeks and chard

Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6

Sukuma Wiki (Sautéed Collard Greens)

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Salad of beet greens with walnuts

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Red Beans and Greens

Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 4 to 6

kuku sabzi (Persian greens frittata)

Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 10

Pork belly and greens hot pot

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Rau Muong With Mam Tom (Charred Water Spinach With Shrimp Paste, Pork Belly and Garlic)

Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

Garlic-Crusted Cornbread

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Zynodoa's bruleed cast iron cornbread

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 12

Foolproof Pulled Pork

Time 14 hours, largely unattended
Yields Serves 8 to 10

Badmaash Goan Pork Curry

Time About 4 hours plus marinating time
Yields Serves 10 to 12

Pork tenderloin with Concord grape sauce

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Thai Pork and Basil With Rice Noodles

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Mak Kimchi

Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yields Makes about 3 quarts

Beijing-style pork and cabbage dumplings

Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields Makes enough for 3 dozen dumplings, about 6 servings

Lentils with kale and butternut squash

Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 6

Crisp-skinned salmon with lentils, bacon and dandelion greens

Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

“Blackened” Snapper with Crunchy Pickle Salad

Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 8.

Spaghetti with bottarga and fried egg

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Cacio e pepe

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 6

Longevity noodles (cheung sau jai mien)

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Quick Chicken Pho (pho gà nhanh)

Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 2

Spicy Chili Crisp Noodles

Time 10 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Sesame Cold Noodles With Crab and Crunchy Vegetables

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Pistachio Pesto Ramen

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4

Pomegranate and Citrus Salad

Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 12

Winter roast pork with basil pomegranate sauce

Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 10 to 12

Southern Buttermilk Tea Cakes

Time 30 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling
Yields Makes 3 dozen

New Year's cake (nian gao)

Time 2 hours
Yields Makes about 72 slices

Norwegian orange cake

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 10 to 16

Rosca de reyes (Kings cake)

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 24 (Makes 2 cakes)

Cranberry orange cornmeal cake

Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Yields Serves 18

Doughnut Holes

Time 30 minutes
Yields Makes about 20

Momed’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10