Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Owe It All to the Italians and Their Superstitious New Year’s Diet

Fireworks and champagne were out of the question, so this year Nicole and I had to find another way to bring in the new year. For reasons I don’t understand, I wanted to add some sort of tradition; that is, one beyond my tradition of crying when the ball drops or the latest tradition, which involved sleeping through the ball drop (babies and their schedules and oh so tired mommies, I blame). I read how southerners eat black-eye peas and how the Japanese eat long buckwheat noodles: If they can eat one without chewing or breaking it, that means they are supposed to enjoy good luck and a long life. But I don’t like black-eyed peas and the noodle things sounded like a choking hazard.

I took to the nets and found a slew of Magical Foods from different cultures that make big promises if you consume them on New Year’s Eve or Day. Many of those foods offended my delicate taste sensibilities (aka, my super pickiness; to wit: A whole fish, eyes and all) so I selected Italian Lentils, the kind that look like little orangey-golden coins. The lentils, the Italians say, symbolizes money and good fortune. Who couldn’t use that? Eat them and money will fall you’re your lap. Whatever with long life, show me the money.

I went to Westerly, the local health food emporium, and scooped a giant portion of lentils into the plastic bag, paid and brought them home, completely unsure how one even cooks them. Back to the internet, and I got a recipe for these lentils, these lentil which would CERTAINLY change our lives.

So on January 1, 2009, I made a big dish of Italian lentils and made sure it was the first food we consumed in the morning on the first day of 2009. And, believe it or not, they worked. And worked. And worked. The first cash surprise was a completely unexpected check in the mail, some sort of real estate rebate that was cancelled by Bloomberg then reinstated. Then came a check for some overpayment of something. And then I got a very unexpected and large editing job. Last month, I won a baking contest at Nicole’s work and it unexpectedly came with a $100 gift certificate.

Anything that arrives in this house outside of Nicole’s paycheck I chalk up to the lentils. Yes, all of this would have happened I’m sure if we didn’t eat the beans but I am not taking any chances. I realized that some superstitions are fun. If I even find a sticky coin stuck to the floor in the laundry room I think “It’s the lentils working again!” I keep a scoop it the house at ALL times now (which is my variation on the superstition: Eat first thing in the new year and keep on hand at all times…) and will definitely be eating them on the morn of 2010. I want others to try it. What can it hurt? At the very least, the lentils are good to eat!

Pictured above, the lentils, in all their uncooked glory. And below that, dinner. I love salad but really don’t enjoy making them. It is so labor intensive. When I look in the fridge I must say that salad makings don’t really jump out at me. This was my modified Cobb (no bacon and no chicken) and it was really good. Cobb is my second favorite, right behind a bleu cheese wedge.


K J and the kids said...

Beans beans...they're the magical fruit ! :)
I had to. I'm sorry. It's like I'm still a 12 year old boy.

Calliope said...

damn. I should have had lentils.

Chicory said...

I know I'm in blog retirement, but I had to make an appearance to comment on this post. First off... I'm adding those damn lentils to our new year's day diet. And second off, I LOVE salads, but only if someone else makes them. Seriously. A salad I have to make is blah blah blah. A salad someone else makes (even if only my wife, even if made with exactly the same ingredients I would have used) is a cuisine of miraculous scrumptiousness.

Jennifer said...

Chicory! I SO miss your blog! And I agree with you one hundred percent: Certain things taste better when others make it for it, salads included. Which is why I end up at our local salad bar Chop't. Oh, and why not try the lentils now??!! Do it in 2010, but what can it hurt?