Health diet: Martha Rose Shulman brings traditional lucky foods for the New Year

Cooking Up Luck for the New Year: In this week’s Recipes for Health, Martha Rose Shulman explores traditional lucky foods from around the world.

In Italy, lentils and raisins resemble coins and swell when cooked, and are usually accompanied by pork, a symbol of prosperity. In Provence, the lucky dish is chickpeas, while people in the American South ring in the New Year with black-eyed peas. In some cultures, greens like spinach and kale symbolize money. Other foods that represent good fortune include rice and golden foods like cornbread and saffron.

“It strikes me,” Ms. Shulman writes, “that with the exception of some rich pastries, most of the good luck foods are also very good for you.”

Here are six recipes for cooking up some good luck for the New Year.

New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas Salad: Black-eyed peas are associated with prosperity in the American South because they’re small and round like coins.

Greek Black-Eyed Peas Salad: A departure from the traditional Southern fare, this dish is light though not particularly Greek.

Soba Noodles in Broth With Spinach and Shiitakes: The Japanese believe in soba noodles, which have a long, lean shape that symbolizes health and longevity.

Lentil Tomato Soup: This is an easy, robust vegetarian soup that tastes almost meaty.

Stuffed Collard Greens: If greens, raisins, nuts and grains of rice all symbolize prosperity, then you will do well to make this recipe for your New Year’s Eve party.

Rock Fish and Spinach Gratin: Fish symbolizes good luck in many cultures, and the greens represent money.

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