My grandparents always had saurkraut and kilbasa on New Years day for luck.
Rather than let us kids think of something as lucky (anything not “God” or in any way outside of her religion, even the idea of ‘luck’, was unthinkable to dear old mom) the story was that they made sourkrout and kilbasa not for luck or from any older tradition – but because it was what Grandmother and Grandad had their first New Year’s Day together, after being married in 1930s Appalachia where they were just happy to have the meat. Her plot backfired – rather than fake us out from thinking something was lucky, it just made us go AWWWW! Eating the same new year’s meal because it was what they had their first New Years together – how sweet and romantic is THAT? Looking back, as an adult, and knowing the divorce rates – that makes it all the more lucky if you ask me.
But as I’ve said many times: I don’t like saurkrout. Even the romantic and lucky kind. So for our first wedded New Year’s Day, I wanted to make something yummy and symbolic that could become our tradition, and Jamba-like-a was born. My husband detests shellfish as much as I detest saurkrout, and spicy foods the day after a night out never digested well for me. The low heat thing came in handy later when the youngling came along. And thus Jamba-like-a was born:
Celery, onion and garlic for health
Something leftover for cleverness and craft, bringing the good parts of the old year through to the new
Fresh meat for strength – and a reminder us to be grateful
Rice for abundance
Spice for fun and happiness in the coming year