New Year’s Food Traditions From Around the World and a Confession about Black-Eyed Peas

PHOTO BY MARK WEINBERG from Food52 article

In Turkey, some smash pomegranates in the doorways of their homes. As the tradition goes, the number of seeds that fly out predict how much good fortune you’ll have in the coming year.”

By Ella Quitner, in her article 10 New Year’s Food Traditions From Around the World published today by Food52

Sounds good to me, but also a little worrisome: are we behind the 8-ball at Glover Gardens because our pomegranate tree didn’t produce any edible fruit this year??? It was a sorry excuse for a fruit-bearing tree. Maybe next year…

Back to the topic at hand…I’ve always been interested in other folks’ New Year’s food traditions, and grew up with some pretty strong ones. There was a firm protocol in our family: blacked-eyed peas on New Year’s Day were a must for good luck. I have to confess: I don’t really like them and have sometimes just tossed a few into my mouth like aspirin and washed them down with champagne. (I’m not sorry!!!) This may sound ridiculous, but I’ll have a vague, uneasy feeling that things won’t go well throughout the year if I skip the black-eyeds on New Year’s. It’s a thing. In fact, my Dad used to call me every New Year’s to ask if I’d had mine… I miss that.

Photo from Foodzesty blog; I might like black-eyed peas better if I was eating them in a soup like this one that has “a hint of orange juice”

If you read the article above from Food52, you’ll note that I’m not the only one who’s superstitious about luck and New Year’s culinary choices; almost all of the traditional foods from around the world are associated with good fortune.

In Spain, the tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight to get good luck for each of the coming months…does wine count?

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s is very southern (my Dad was from Sweetwater, TX, so we came by it naturally), and an accompaniment is often cornbread. Now cornbread, I can handle, especially if it’s Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread, which I “borrowed” from a friend and posted here last year. So yummy! And in addition to being a traditional “good luck” food, its meaty center makes it a great main dish for a hearty New Year’s brunch (whether or not you have a ‘morning after’ thing going on). Check out the recipe here if you’re looking for an easy winner for New Year’s Day. (And thanks again, Mary!)

Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread might go really, really well with that black-eyed pea soup from the Foodzesty blog…maybe with a side of grapes

Happy New Year! What are your culinary traditions for ringing out the old year and ringing in the new?

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Seven Delicious Things to Do with Leftover Champagne | VinePair

Too much of a good thing? You absolutely can cook with leftover Champagne, or use it to make pantry items, cocktails, and more.

Source: Seven Delicious Things to Do with Leftover Champagne | VinePair

(We never actually have leftover champagne here at Glover Gardens, but I’m sharing this article from VinePair as a public service.)

A Little More Music for a Sunday Evening: Freedom of Expression by Thomas Wenglinski

This is becoming a thing, posting my son’s music.  I’ll probably need a better title  for the series than “A Little More Music…” since the kid will be composing and performing jazz to share with the world for years to come.

Here’s his latest, Freedom of Expression.  It is written in “a variety of key centers to illustrate the same theme in different, fluid ways”, he says.  (I think that’s musician-speak for “I got creative”.)

Performed by the University of Texas Spring 2017 Jazz Ensemble on March 2, with the (shaky) video captured by yours truly, here is Freedom of Expression, for your Sunday evening listening pleasure.

Other Music from Our Prolific Millennial


Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook (except the music, of course, which belongs entirely to Thomas Wenglinski)

A Little (More) Music for a Sunday Evening

11850707_858255924222944_657006352718227083_o-2Happy New Year!  I’ve just checked my Glover Gardens stats for 2016 and am proud to report that my most popular post last year was:  A Little Music for a Sunday Evening.  It includes a wonderful (free) recording of one of my son’s original tunes. He is a jazz composition major on scholarship at the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music and is writing new songs almost daily.  Really.  (My empty nest issues are all about the silence emanating from the piano and keyboards here at Glover Gardens.)

For your New Years and Sunday evening listening pleasure, I’m sharing my son’s first commercial release, The Madness Method.  I know I’m biased, but I think this kid is going places.  Let me know what you think if you download the album.


My son wrote, arranged, produced, recorded and performed all of the music, with the exception of a guest performance on one of the tunes by a young guitar player who is on scholarship at University of North Texas majoring in jazz studies, and who is also going places.

Watch this space!  I’ll be sharing lots more original jazz (some of it free), and if my most popular post for this year turns out to be about my son’s music, that’s just fine with me.  I am very much about my son and bonus son (who is a rocket test director for SpaceX).  They are both Eagle Scouts (again, I’m not proud or anything).

Thomas Wenglinski, musician, composer, Eagle Scout, son (I’m not proud or anything)

That’s us before our annual trek to the Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker

I just realized there’s a haiku in this post!

The Madness Method:
A little more music for
a Sunday evening

See also:

Let me know what you think about the album if you buy it!

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Happy New Year!

It’s New Year’s Eve!  I’m looking forward to 2017 and all of the opportunities, challenges, connections and blessings it will bring.  And I have to acknowledge that one of the big opportunities and blessings for me in 2016 was sharing a few thoughts, recipes and haikus with you in this blog – and the interactions and connections that spawned.  Thank you!

There’s no time to create a compelling post at the moment – the Christmas tree’s undoing beckons!- so I will wish everyone a safe and happy celebration tonight, and simply repost a New Year’s Day Brunch menu from last year.

Pampas Grass Cocktail
The Pampas Grass is a very light sparkler to brighten up your New Year’s Eve or brunch

My recommended New Year’s Brunch Menu (which can also be a lovely New Year’s Eve menu if you’re having a party):

I got all into New Year’s traditions last year and wrote about the traditions that accompany it – click here if you’d like to read the full post.

Happy New Year!  And don’t forget to be safe.


Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook



New Year’s Brunch

I’ve always felt that the way I spend New Year’s (Eve and Day) foreshadows my experiences for the rest of the year.  And it usually does:  we’re either traveling with family, having a special outing with family, or spending time at home with family, celebrating the beginning of a great new year with a great meal.  Last year at year’s-end, we were at our cabin in the Rockies and spent a fantastic New Year’s Eve in Breckenridge watching the fireworks, which we highly recommend.  There’s a Torchlight Parade, with skiers coming down the mountain adorned with red lights on their ski poles, which is a marvelous spectacle.  Then there are the fireworks, which are spectacular.  Even in sub-zero weather, which last year was about -15 degrees.

New Year's Eve in Breckenridge
Photo courtesy of Megan Rehm Photography.

We had a spicy egg and sausage casserole for New Year's Brunch in 2015, complimented by mimosas.
We had a spicy egg and sausage casserole for New Year’s Brunch in 2015, complimented by mimosas.

My Facebook post on New Year’s Day of 2015 read:  “We had a great time in Breckenridge last night but couldn’t last ’til midnight when we got back to the cabin. No worries, New Year’s Eve champagne makes great New Year’s Day mimosas.”  We had a throw down spicy sausage and egg casserole and mimosas for our brunch here at Little House in the Rockies, which really hit the spot.  By the way, I saw Anthony Dias Blue of Wine Spectator on Good Morning America about 25 years ago, and when asked about champagne for mixing in drinks like mimosas, he advocated using inexpensive but decent champagne (like Korbel).  He said that the finer champagnes were wasted when they were mixed with juices or other liquors.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Back to New Year’s Brunch.  There are certain requirements for the menu.  Being a southerner, I was raised on the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for luck on New Year’s Day.  The trouble is, I don’t like them very much.  My parents found a recipe called Texas Caviar years ago that solves this problem:  the black-eyeds are masked by yummy pico de gallo-like ingredients in this a spicy, fresh dip.  I don’t have their recipe, but found one in another blog that looks very close:  click here.

Basically, you have to have lucky foods, which can include pork or fish, both celebratory and extravagant foods, greens, for the color of money, coin-shaped foods, or food that is the color of gold, like cornbread (click here for a neat blog post about lucky foods for New Year’s).  You also need very hearty foods, if it’s a morning-after kind of situation.  And make-ahead foods are always handy if you’re going out on New Year’s, but having guests or a special family meal on New Year’s Day.

So here’s my recommended New Year’s Brunch Menu (which can also be a lovely New Year’s Eve menu if you’re having a party):

My final recommendation:  have fun!  New Year’s is a holiday without the burden of huge expectations or gifts.  Just go with the feeling and start out the new year in a happy and joyful way.