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Celebrating the New Year with Food
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:14 pm    Post subject: Celebrating the New Year with Food Reply with quote

Hey, guys,

I can use some help. I'm researching an article on the way people use food to celebrate New Year.

I'm particularly interested in ethnic, regional, or national practices that are fairly widespread. One such would be serving peas & greens on New Year's day in the American South.

What I'd like is an explanation of the tradition, and perhaps a recipe or two if the food lends itself to that.

You can either just post your replies here (would be an interesting discussion, even if I weren't researching it), or send them directly to me at brook@cheftalk.com.

I appreciate any inputs you can make.

tia,
Brook
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi KYH, What a wonderful idea for an article.
As you well know by now, I'm Israeli and Jewish, so Christmas and New year is a no-no around here ( of course we do celebrate the New year on the 31st, but it's not a recognized holiday. Christmas , being a religious day, is not celebrated). But, like 90% of the Israelis of my age, I was born elsewhere, - in my case, Romania. The romanians are greek ortodox (very few catholics and protestants) and we used to celebrate with my parent's friends and mine some of the feasts. New Year ( and gifts on Christmas/hannuka including a decorated tree side by side with the 9 branches menorah) was a big celebration I loved, and the food was part of it.
Most of the food evolves around pork meat, from the pig traditionally slaughtered on the December 20, on Ignat's day ( not in Bucharest where I lived, but friends used to bring a whole pig from the country). Every tiny bit of the pig is used and cooked , and the food is delicious ( and soooo unkosher.. and sooo deliciously fat). Romanians are carnivores, so no "health food" there; For starters you have :
CARNATI- pig sausage, preferably home made, CALABOSHI - a special sausage from pork innards like liver , lung etc ; TOBA - something my mother liked and I did not - sort of "Head cheese" or "fromage de tete" in french; JUMARI - crispy porl skin and fat ; SANGERETE - blood sausage ( Boudin in French) ; LEBERVURST - german for liver pate; and my preferate - PIFTIE -pork feet aspic . The traditional soup is CIORBA DE PERISHOARE- a sour soup with winter root vegetables and pork meat balls.
For main dishes : SARMALE - a national fare you eat all year, but especially during the winter holidays ; it's stuffed cabbage leaves with gounded pork meat and rice. It's divine with sour cream on top.Of course there are various pork roasts, chops, grilled chops etc.
The main dish fish is GRILLED CARP , served with Garlic Sauce and MAMALIGA - the Romanian polenta.
To end this "light" festive meal, there are some traditional deserts: COZONAC - romanian for panetone - a seet king of bread with various fillings like chocolate abnd walnuts. tirkish delight or candied fruits. Of course various tortes and apple pies. All this food is "drowned" in red wine and the tradition TZUICA - romanian blum brandy ( eau de vie)
Romanian food is very varied, with influences both Turkish ( 400 years of turkish invasion) and Austo-Hungarian ( 100 years of Habsburg kings).
Though I left Romania 50 years ago (I was 11 YO) , my basic soul food is mainly romanian and we visit quite frequently the romanian restaurants here in Israel.
If you would like any recipes or more details concerning Christmas and New Year in Romania, I'll happily provide it to you.
If by chance you have any Romanian Restaurants where you live ( There are in NY), maybe you'll try once.
Success with your article

No more war ( well, I do live in the Middle East, not in Eastern Europe..) , and peace may come upon all of us in AD 2011 . All we can do , is wish and hope.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the run-down, Simona. I'll probably call on you for recipes etc. downstream a bit.

and the tradition TZUICA

I don't care what you call it, you gotta watch out for those central and eastern European plum and pear brandies. Lawd oh lawd, will they do a number on you. Friend Wife is Hungarian......need I say more?
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a lucky guy, an Hungarian wife is a sure recipe for wonderful food. My late husband was Hungarian too ( born in Transylvania, the hungarian part of Romania). He was a bad cook (actually for him, the kitchen was a far away planet) , but he was a wonderful eater and his mother, bless her soul, was a wonderful cook.
I love the various Palinkas- whatever fruit it contains. there is nothing better - IMHO - than a good herring with onions and a Tzuica or a Palinka, or a Vodka. I'm definitely not an Irish Cream/Sweet liqueur person.
And I love hungarian food too, which eventually, was also influenced by the same Turkish/Habsbourg cuisine. It's only the language I could not get used to.....Romanian at least is latin based , so more or less undestandable....

No more war, take a Tzuica/palinka/vodka and life will immediately look better... Le Haim!! ( hebrew for Salut or "to life!")
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Friend Wife was a terrible cook, like her mother before her. But we went to a lot of Hungarian restaurants as a result. My first ever cold soup---sour cherry---was one of the things I learned about that way.
And, fwiw, my chicken paprikash is to die for.

Le Haim!! ( hebrew for Salut or "to life!")

Or, in the words of Tevya:

Join us in a glass of brandy, for the bible tells us man is not a beast!
Though this life be feast or famine, why should we examine famine more than feast?
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did Teviya really spoke those words? Didn't know that. Smart guy!
Sour cherry soup - that was my ordeal Evil or Very Mad everytime we went to my in-laws.
I like a good paprikash but spare me the rose sweet liquid!
Do you speak any hungarian? Have you travelled to Budapest? It's a wonderful city an has a lot of very good pastry shops.
Maybe when your article will be ready, you will share it with us. I certainly would be very interested to read it.
Good luck with the research

No more war, I want to eat and drink in peace!!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you speak any hungarian?

Are you kidding? It's a wonder even Hungarians can speak it.
Hungarian is a very complex language which is related to no others. (Friend Wife is looking over my shoulder, and says, "That's because even our language is special." In the interest of marital harmony, I refrain from comment.)

Only thing I have to do with Hungarians is remain married to one. My people were from the Ukraine. Both sets of parents, unfortunately, used both the native tongues and yiddush as secret languages when they didn't want the kids knowing what they were saying. So, alas, no foreign tongues for either of us.

I grew up in a neighborhood where you had to know 7 languages just to say "good morning" to your neighbors. But that sort of thing takes practice, so I have little of those bits and snatches left.

Hard to believe, now, that when I was very much younger I could read both aramaic and classic hebrew, and speak the latter.

I can talk dirty, though. Does that count? Twisted Evil

I like a good paprikash but spare me the rose sweet liquid!

Sweet? I can't recall ever having a sweet paprikash. When I make one it starts with 5 tbls of oil and an equal quantity of paprika. Other ingredients include onions, the protein, red wine, and sour cream. Nothing sweet in there at all.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

by "the rose sweet liquid" i meant of course the sour cherry soup, not the paprikash...
I agree with you about Hungarian - but what can you expect from Atilla the Hun Laughing !!! . It made me crazy to hear my husband speaking with his mother ,and I ( who speaks 5-6 languages) not to be able to understand a word!!! Being born in Romania, he understood and spoke romanian, so I could not have secrets with my parents..
My mother, born in Odessa ( Ukraine , maybe we are related??) spoke perfect Russian too.
Well KYH, you "hearing" Yiddish , knowing some hebrew etc, was kind of surprise to me. Do you still speak some? I speak german ( good girls from Bucharest were taught foreign languages ..) so of course I understand Yiddish, especially jokes and dirty words... which counts!!

No more war, Shalom to you and to the world!! (no, I won't go into politics...)
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mother, born in Odessa ( Ukraine , maybe we are related??)

I'm sure we are. Ultimately, everyone from the Pale is related.

But your Mom was a big city girl, and we, apparently, were from a very small town, the name of which I can't begin to pronounce.

Didn't even know that until recently. I grew up believing our background was Russian. Couple of years ago my sister got involved in geneology, and traced us back to the Ukraine.

All of this, btw, is a major reason why I've always disliked the term "fusion cuisine." Ultimately, all cusine is a fusion of different influences, so at best the phrase is redundant. (at worst, of course, it means applying Asian flavors to an otherwise uninspired Western dish and conning people into believing it's creative)

The example I use isn't the obvious, such as Italian or Greek. Instead I talk about the Pale, where invaders raped their way through every twenty years or so, leaving behind their bastards and their food ways.

who speaks 5-6 languages)

One of the major cultural differences between Europeans and Americans is that most Europeans were multi-lingual, and most Americans weren't.

but what can you expect from Atilla the Hun

Now, now. Let's not be testy. Attilla was a good boy; just misunderstood. After all, wasn't it he who said "violence never settles anything." Rolling Eyes
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I so agree with you about the trend of "fusion food" which always confuses me: I like defined tastes, and not a mumbo-jumbo dish. Not that some of them are not tasty, but most of them are exactly what you have called them: uninspired western dishes with an (undistinguished) asian flavour.
I also remember the discussion on this furum about the "vegetarian bolognese" and other dishes which take a defined name for a specific dish and then use it twisting the name. I'm a simple girl ( well, old woman) who when asking for a hamburger doesn't want to find inside it truffles and foie gras . Why on earth do I need a meat ball to wrap the foie gras? ( I ate something like that in one of the Bouloud restaurants in NY).
As for Atilla the Hun, I told you - no politics on the forums.(it's OK for PM)
What is PALE? You mean Caucasians? ( I'm trying to be politically correct , american style euphemism) Never heard that denomination.

No more war. Food is "fused" enough already, no need for mor war related "fusion" food.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simona, the pale is the region between eastern Europe and Russia, encompassing parts of both. Full orginal name was The Pale of Settlement. It was supposed to serve as a buffer between the two, and thus prevent (ha!) war.

It's where the undesireables (read "Jews") were settled; the so-called schtetle (sp?) Jews---the ones that Fiddler On The Roof dealt with. And which gives us such wonderful (sound of spitting) concepts as pograms.

Most pre-WWII Jewish immigration to the U.S. came from that region. After the war, those who could tended to make aliyah instead.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for the information about the Pale. This name was unknown to me, maybe because we learned here the geographical facts under another name - Tehum Moshav ( enclave of authorized settelment) - and never had the occasion to read about the subject in English.
No doubt, this forum teaches me much more than nice recipes..

No more war , no more (Pale of) Settlements!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All samee-same, Simona. Just a difference in translation from the original Russian---and I won't even attempt transliterating the Cyrillic.

FWIW: synonyms for enclave (an enclosed territory that is culturally distinct from the foreign territory that surrounds it) include: barricade, deterrent, fence, pale, road block, wall, and, perhaps most germane, ghetto.

So we’re talking about the same thing, no matter how it’s expressed.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Pale can do so at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement and http://home.earthlink.net/~cherlinfamily/Ref/Maps/Frm/pale-f1.html
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My background is much more boring. That is, my ancestors either came to the U.S. pretty far back, (French Protestants who, if you know your history, were pushed out a very long time ago) or were from English speaking areas. The exception was my Grandmother who was born in Germany, lived in Milwaukee (where else for a German-- just kidding) for years, and ended her life in Florida. She had to start her morning with pickled herring-- an old German tradition guaranteeing to improve one's luck in the coming year, and have black-eyed peas for dinner, because she had become a Southerner, and needed the black-eyed peas for prosperity. I understand they eat lentils on New Years in Italy for the same reason. She was pretty superstitious, so she covered all bases on New Years. I still often eat black-eyed peas on New Years, despite the fact that I am a died in the wool Northerner, born and bred in Wisconsin. I ignore the pickled herring since I detest it. Who knows how fortunate and privileged I could have been if I had eaten my herring?

Dory
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, on the other hand, wonder about how bad things could get if I DIDN'T eat my traditional black-eyed peas on New Year's! (So, you think you've got it bad now - well, let me tell you...) Rolling Eyes
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