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American New Year menus & party notes
  • Colonial America
  • 19th century
  • 1900s...1910s
  • 1920s...1930s
  • 1940s...1950s
  • 1960s...1970s
  • 1980s...1990s
  • Chinese New Year traditions
  • Irish New Year customs
  • Greek Vasilopita


  • Symbolism of New Year's Day foods
    In most cultures, foods prepared on New Year's Day bring good luck. Which foods? Depends upon the culture. Recurring themes are green (life), gold & coins (money/wealth) and pork/ham (because pigs root forward as they eat, embracing challenges).

    "As New Year's Day approaches, people around the world will plan for the coming year, eager to get off to the best possible start! Many people will "eat for luck"-they plan to eat special foods that, by tradition, are supposed to bring them good luck. Throughout history, people have eaten certain foods on New Year's Day, hoping to gain riches, love, or other kinds of good fortune during the rest of the year. For people of several nationalities, ham or pork is the luckiest thing to eat on New Year's Day. How did the pig become associated with the idea of good luck? In Europe hundreds of years ago, wild boars were caught in the forests and killed on the first day of the year. Also, a pig uses its snout to dig in the ground in a forward direction. Maybe people liked the idea of moving forward as the new year began, especially since pigs are also associated with plumpness and getting plenty to eat. However the custom arose, Austrians, Swedes, and Germans frequently choose pork or ham for their New Year's meal. They brought this tradition with them when they settled in different regions of the United States. New Englanders often combine their pork with sauerkraut to guarantee luck and prosperity for the coming year. Germans and Swedes may pick cabbage as a lucky side dish, too. In other places, turkey is the meat of choice. Bolivians and some people in New Orleans follow this custom. But other people claim that eating fowl (such as turkey, goose, or chicken) on New Year's Day will result in bad luck. The reason? Fowl scratch backward as they search for their food, and who wants to have to "scratch for a living"? Frequently, fish is the lucky food. People in the northwestern part of the United States may eat salmon to get lucky. Some Germans and Poles choose herring, which may be served in a cream sauce or pickled. other Germans eat carp. Sometimes sweets or pastries are eaten for luck. In the colony of New Amsterdam, now New York, the Dutch settlers still enjoy these treats...In some places, a special cake is made with a coin baked inside. Such cakes are traditional in Greece, which celebrates Saint Basil's Day and New Year's at the same time. The Saint Basil's Day cake (vasilopeta) is made of yeast dough and flavored with lemon. The person who gets the slice with the silver or gold coin is considered very lucky! Many of the luck-bringing foods are round or ring-shaped, because this signifies that the old year has been completed. Black-eyed peas are an example of this, and they are part of one of New Year's most colorful dishes, Hoppin' John, which is eaten in many southern states. Hoppin' John is made with black-eyed peas or dried red peas, combined with hog jowls, bacon, or salt pork. Rice, butter, salt, or other vegetables may be added. The children in the family might even hop around the table before the family sits down to eat this lucky dish. In Brazil, lentils are a symbol of prosperity, so lentil soup or lentils with rice is prepared for the first meal of the New Year. Thousands of miles away, the Japanese observe their New Year's tradition of eating a noodle called toshikoshi soba. (This means "sending out the old year.") This buckwheat noodle is quite long, and those who can swallow at least one of them without chewing or breaking it are supposed to enjoy good luck and a long life. Finally, Portugal and Spain have an interesting custom. As the clock strikes midnight and the new year begins, people in these countries may follow the custom of eating twelve grapes or raisins to bring them luck for all twelve months of the coming year! " ---"Eat for Luck!," Victoria Sherrow & David Helton, Children's Digest, Jan/Feb94 (p. 20)

    "Whether New Year's day is celebrated on Jan. 1 according to the Gregorian calendar, in September or October as the Jews' Rosh Hashanah or in midwinter by Asians, foods serve as edible talismans to assure luck, happiness or prosperity in the coming year. The notion, for example, that eating gold-colored food will put money in your pocket is common in Peru, where papas a la huanchaina, a potato dish tinted with tumeric or with a saffron-colored spiced called tadillo, is served on New Year's Eve. In China, dumplings made from golden egg pancakes, crisply gilded spring rolls and oranges are the aureat foods appropriate for the Chinese New Year's celebration...The Chinese also value fish. A whole one is preferred, suggesting that prosperity has favored you wtih more than you can eat. Pork is on the New Year's table in many cultures, connoting riches because at one time having a pig to slaughter guaranteed food for the coming year. In Italy and in southern parts of the United States, pork is eaten in the form of sausage, stuffed pig's trotters (zampone), ham hocks or pig's knuckles, invariably accompanied by a dish of dried beans. The Italians eat lentils, or lenticchie, which since Roman times have represented coins... parsley decorates the dish because it was thought to ward off evil spirits. In the American South, greens are added to black-eyed peas or hoppin' John (black-eyed peas with rice). The symbolism is straightforward: the greens represented dollars and the black-eyed peas coins. Dried beans, garnished or plain, represent the changing over of years, for they can be stored throughout the winter and then be planted to create the harvest. Sometimes a silver coin or trinket is buried in a dish of black-eyed peas or hoppin' John, providing an extra measure of good luck to the person finding it...In Spain...12 grapes are eaten just before midnight, one for each chime of the clock. Good luck will come to those who finish the grapes before the final stroke."
    ---"Culinary Talismans for a Lucky 1987," Florence Fabricant, New York Times, December 31, 1986 (p. C3)
    [NOTE: Coins and other trinkets baked in cakes are also common elements at
    Christmas and Twelfth Night.]

    New Year's food in the United States: a multicultural celebration
    "New Year's Celebrations. Although champage has become de rigeur as midnight strikes, no single food epitomizes the contemporary New Year's holiday. The menu may be luxurious caviar at a New Year's Eve bacchanalia or a sobering hoppin' John on New Year's Day. Celebrations marking the inexorable march of Father Time often involve foods imbued with symbolism, such as in the Pennsylvania Dutch New Year's tradition of sauerkraut (for wealth) and pork--the pig roots forward into the future, unlike the Christmas turkey, which buries the past by scratching backward in the dirt. Seventeeth-century Dutch immigrants in the Hudson River valley welcomed the New Year by "opening the house" to family and friends. The custom was adapted by English colonists, who used brief, strictly choreographed January 1 social calls for gentlemen to renew bonds or repair frayed relationships. Ladies remained at home, offering elegantly arrayed collations laden with cherry bounce, wine, hot punch, and cakes and cookies, often flavored with the Dutch signatures of caraway, coriander, cardamom, and honey. Embossed New Year's 'cakes," from the Dutch nieuwjaarskoeken--made by pressing a cookie-like dough into carved wooden boards decorated with flora and fauna--were a New York specialty throughout the nineteenth century...The New York custom of open house spread westward in the nineteeth century...In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries those of French and English backgrounds celebrated the twelve days of Christmas with gifts of food and festive dinners on January 1...African Americans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries made one of the most enduring contributions to the modern holiday. Starting in the Carolinas but extending throughout the South, hoppin' John and greens became traditional New Year's fare, black-eyed peas bringing luck and the rice (which swelled in the cooking) and greens (like money) bringing prosperity. In the early twentieth century Japanese Americans adopted the open house tradition, serving glutinous rice dishes, soups, boiled lobsters (signifying health and happiness), and fish specially prepared to appear live and swimming."
    ---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 2 (p. 189-90)

    Pork & Sauerkraut
    This is a German custom. Pennsylania Dutch, of German descent, also serve these foods.
    "Throughout history, the lowly cabbage has played side dish to the pig on New Year's Day, not because it bears a special significance, but because it's a tasty complement to pork. "It's a traditional combination," said William Weaver, an internationally known food historian who lives in Chester County. Any Pennsylvania German worth his or her salt knows pork is served on New Year's Day because it brings good luck. With their snouts, pigs root forward, signifying progress, lore dictates, whereas chickens and turkeys scratch backward."
    ---"Eat 'sour cabbage' for a sweet year; Having sauerkraut on New Year's Day brings luck, some say," Kathleen Parrish, Morning Call [Allentown:PA], January 1, 2004 (p. A1)

    "In the nineteenth century, sauerkraut was a cold-weather food. Sauerkraut with fresh pork was a fall dish. Sauerkraut with turkey was a Christmas dish. And sauerkraut with pork was eaten for good luck on New Year's Day, because, as the [Pennsylvania] Dutch say, "the pig roots forward." Thus rooting forward into the new year, the Dutch ate sauerkraut with salt pork in the late winter, and finally, sauerkraut with fish in early spring."
    ---Sauerkraut Yankees, William Woys Weaver [University of Pennsylvania Press:Philadelphia] 1983 (p. 176)

    New Year's cookies & cakes
    We can thank our colonial era Dutch settlers for introducing New Years cookies to America. Sometimes called New Years Cakes, these thin crisp sugar cookies were traditionally flavored with caraway, lemon and sometimes cider. Some recipes specify cutting the dough into fancy shapes, similar to
    Christmas cookies. Recipes for New Years cookies proliferate in the 1840s-1850s. By the late 1880s, they fade from the pages of "modern" culinary literature.

    "New Years Cakes were considered a delicacy most peculiar to New York and the Hudson Valley, but we do find professional bakers in many other East Coast cities advertising these cakes. A baker in Philadelphia advertised in 1840 that he "sells the real New York New Year's Cakes, the genuine Knickerbockers, of all sizes, from a cartwheel to a levenpenny bit...But how is it that New Years Cakes are also called Knickerbockers? We have already seen this term in connection with the olie-koecken...Yes, early Americans were sometimes confused about names, but at least this does tell us that people in the 1840s were well aware of the Dutch origins of this recipe."
    ---The Christmas Cook: Three Centuries of American Yuletide Sweets, William Woys Weaver [Harper Perennial:New York] 1990 (p. 140)
    [NOTE: This book contains a modernized recipe based on one published by Eliza Leslie, circa 1838.]

    "New Year's Cake. This name is somewhat misleading. The ingredients, as [Eliza] Lea ordered them, make a stiff cookie that was once popular in Pennsylvania and Delaware under the name of apees cake. It is closely related tot he springerle but was sold by street vendors the year round. For rural Quakers, it was a special treat for children at New Year's, which may explain the name Lea used for it. The cookie is not related to the crumb cake that is now sold under the name of apees in Berks County, Pennsylvania. More likely it was related to the New Year's cookies that were associalte with the Dutch settlers in Colonial New York. Those cookies were often stamped with elaborate carved mols. The leavening agent inthem was potash or pearl ash."
    ---A Quaker Woman's Cookbook: The Domestic Cookery of Elizabeth Ellicott Lea, William Woys Weaver [Stackpole Books:Mechanicsburg PA] revised edition 2004 (p. 339)
    [NOTES: Eliza Lea's New Year's Cake recipe here. What were Philadelphia's Apees?]

    "New Year's Cookies. Christmas and New Year's have always called for special recipes, and the Dutch New Year's koekjes, traditionally baked in molds that produced the design of an eagle or the name of a famous person like Washington, were once among the most ornate. In 1808, Washington Irving's Salmagundi: Or, The Whim-Whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaf, Esq., and Others claimed: "These notable cakes, hight [called] new-year cookies...originally were impressed one side with the burly countenance of the illustrious Rip [Van Winkle]."
    ---American Heritage Cookbook, Helen McCully recipes editor [American Heritage Publishing:New York] 1964 (p. 608)
    [NOTE: Modernized recipe from this book here.]

    New Year's cookie recipe sampler

    [1796]
    "New Year's Cake.
    Take a pint milk, and one quart yeast, put these together over night and let it lie in the sponge till morning, 5 pound sugar and 4 pound butter, dissolve these together, 6 eggs well beat, and carroway seed; put the whole together, and when light bake them in cakes, similar to breakfast biscuit, 20 minutes."
    ---American Cookery, Amelia Simmons, facsimile second edition printed in Albany, 1796 with an introduction by Karen Hess [Applewood Books:Bedford MA] 1996 (p. 45)

    [1844]
    "326. New Year's Cookies.

    Rub to a cream, three-quarters of a pound of butter, and a pound of sugar; add three well-beaten eggs, two spoonsfuls of caraway seed, a grated nutmeg, and a pint of flour; stir in a teaspoonful of salaeratus dissolved in a teacup of milk, and strained into half a teacup of cider; add flour to make the cookies stiff enough to roll out. As soon as cut into cakes, bake in a quick oven till of a light brown."
    ---The Improved Housewife, Mrs. A. L. Webster [stereotyped by Richard H. Hobbes:Hartford CT] 5th edition, revised 1844 (p. 120)

    [1845]
    "96. New Year's Cake.

    A very good plain cake can be made without eggs. Take seven pounds of flour, two and a half pounds of sugar, two pounds of butter, one pint of water, and two tea-spoonsful of saleratus well dissolved. Roll it out thin, and bake it on tin sheets. It will keep good a long time."
    ---The New England Economical Housekeeper and Family Receipt Book, Mrs. E.A. Howland [E.P. Walton and Sons:Montpeilier VT] 1845 (p. 29)

    [1850]
    "No. 1. New Year's Cake.

    Beat to a cream three quarters of a pound of butter, and one pound of sugar; add three eggs well beaten, a grated nutmeg, and a pint of sifted flour;when these are well mixed, add half a tea-cup of cider, in which a tea-spoonful of supercarbonate of soda is dissolved, and flour enought to make a stiff dough; roll the dough very think cut it into fanciful forms, as of men, beasts, birds, &c., and bake on buttered tins."

    No. 2. New Year's Cake.
    Rub a pound of butter into a pint of sifted flour, and add three eggs well beaten; then stir in a pint of honey, a grated nutmeg, two table-spoonsfuls of caraway seeds, a teacup of cider in which is dcilloved a tea-spoonful of supercarbonate of soda and a small bit of alum, and sifted flour enough to make a stiff dough; roll it, cut it, andbake it as above."
    ---The Practical Cook Book, Mrs. Bliss [Lippincott, Grambo & Co.:Philadelphia] 1850 (p. 187)
    [NOTE: This books also offers a recipe for New Year's Pie, which is strikingly similar to turducken.

    [1851]
    "New Year Cake.

    Mix together three pounds of flour, a pound and a half of sugar, and three-quarters of a pound of butter; dissolve a tea-spoonful of salaeratus in enough new milk to wet the flour; mix them together; grate in a nutmeg, or the peel of a lemon; roll themout, cut them in shapes, and bake."
    ---A Quaker Woman's Cookbook: The Domestic Cookery of Elizabeth Ellicott Lea, facsimile 1851 edition, William Woys Weaver [Stackpole Books:Mechanicsburg PA] revised edition 2004 (p. 120)

    [1857]
    "New-Year's Cake.

    --Stir together a pound of nice fresh butter, and a pound of powdered white sugar, till they become a light thick cream. Then stir in, gradually, three pounds sifted flour. Add, by degrees, a tea-spoonful of soda dissolved in a small tea-cup of milk, and then a half salt-spoonful of tartaric acid, melted in a large table-spoonful of warm water. Then mix in, gradually, three table-spoonfuls of fine carraway seeds. Roll out the dough into sheets half an inch thick, and cut it with a jagging iron into oval or oblong cakes, pricked with a fork. Bake them immediately in shallow iron pans, slightly greased with fresh butter. The bakers in New York ornament these cakes, with devices or pictures fiased by a wooden stamp. They are good plain cakes for children."
    ---Miss Leslie's New Cookery Book [T.B. Peterson:Philadelphia PA] 1857 (p. 605)

    [1862]
    "New Year's Cookies

    Three quarters of a pound of butter and a pound of sugar beat to a cream. Add thre eggs, one teacupful of sour milk, one teaspoonful of saleratus, half a cup of caraway seed, a little mace, and flour to make it stiff enough to roll thin; cut in rounds. Roll this cake with a little fine sugar instead of flour, and bake about fifteen minutes." (p. 171)

    "New Year's Cookies.
    Take half a pound of butter and one of white sugar; beat them to a cream; add one cup of sour milk, one teaspoonful of saleratus, a little mace, the juice and grated rind of one lemon, and flour enough to roll; sift a little sugar on to roll it; cut them the size you like; bake about twenty minutes." (p. 195-196)
    ---Mrs. Putnam's Receipt Book and Young Housekeeper's Assistant, Mrs. Putnam [Blakeman & Mason:New York] new and enlarged edition, 1862

    [1964]
    "New Years Cookies

    3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
    2 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
    Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. Beat eggs until very light, beat in sugar, a little at a time, and then the cream. Stir in flour combination and caraway seeds. Refrigerate for several hours until dough is firm enough to handle. Roll about 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured board and cut with a small cooky cutter. Sprinkle tops with sugar and bake on greased cooky sheets in preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 10 minutes. Makes about 8 dozen."
    ---American Heritage Cookbook, Helen McCully recipes editor [American Heritage Publishing:New York] 1964 (p. 608)

    American New Year's parties & menus
    Colonial America...19th century... 1900s...1910s...1920s... 1930s...1940s...1950s... 1960s...1970s...1980s... 1990s

    Early Americans welcomed the New Year with simple home receptions and neighborly visits. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, and urban areas flourished, elaborate parties featuring theatrical presentations, fancy decorations and complicated meals graced wealthy tables. By the dawn of the 20th century, trendy Americans rang in the New Year with hundreds of revelers and restaurant meals. Legal drinking curfews and Prohibition did not dampen the spririt. The Great Depression and war-time rationing were blissfully ignored on this day. After WWII, home celebrations were rediscovered. Emphasis on convenient and easy, buffets gained favor over sit-down meals. Brunches beat breakfast. What we learned? Every generation reflects on the "old ways" when embracing new innovations.

    The notes below reflect Ango-American New Year's food celebrations as reported in urban newspapers, popular cook books and magazines. They do not address the diverse buffet of American New Year celebrations country-wide. Happy New Year from your friends at the Food Timeline.

    Colonial American collations
    Many Colonial-era Americans greeted the New Year with collations, informal social gatherings often held in "open" houses. This custom originated in New Netherlands (New York) and quickly became popular in other parts of the country. Food and drink served reflected the pocketbook of the host as well as the location of the home. Some concentrated on desserts and light snacks; others offered elaborate and complicated menus. Colonial/Early American cookbooks do not contain suggested menus/bills of fare for New Year's Collations. What we know about these gatherings is gleaned from primary sources such as journals, letters, household accounts, and newspaper articles.

    "The custom of paying New Year's calls originated in New York, where the Dutch held open house on New Year's Day and served cherry bounce, olykoeks [doughnuts] steeped in rum, cookies, and honey cakes. From New York the custom spread throughout the country. On the first New Year's after his inauguration, George Washington opened his house to the public, and he continued to receive visitors on New Year's Day throughout the seven years he lived in Phildadelphia. On January 1, 1791, a senator from Pennsylvania hoted in his diary: "Made the President the compliments of the season; had a hearty shake of the hand. I was asked to partake of punch and cakes, but declined...Eventually, it became de rigeur [common social practice] for those who intended to receive company to list in newspapers the hours they would be "at home." It was a disastrous practice: parties of young men took to dashing from house to house for a glass of punch, dropping in at as many of the homes listed in the papers as they could. Strangers wandered in off the streets, newspapers under their arms, for a free drink and a bit of a meal. The custom of having an open house on the first day of the year survived the assaults of the newspaper readers. The traditional cookies and cakes continued to be served, along with hot toddies, punches, eggnogs, tea, coffee, and chocolate. But public announcements of at-home hours were dropped at the end of the nineteenth century, and houses were open only to invited friends."
    ---American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating & Drinking, American Heritage:New York] 1964 (p. 392)

    [Maryland]
    "New Year's Day Collation at Mount Clare: Crab Imperial, Oyster loaves, Boned Turkey Breast with Forcemeat and Oyster Sauce, Fried Chicken, Maryland Ham, Fruits in White Wine Jelly, Beaten Biscuits, Sally Lunn, Apricot Fool, Minced Pies, Pound Cake, Light Fruit Cake, Maryland Rocks, Little Sugar Cakes, Coconut Jumbles, Peach Cordial, Syllabub, Egg Nog, Sangaree."
    ---The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook, Mary Donovan et al [Montclair Historical Society:Montclair NJ] 1976 (p. 176)

    [New York]
    "New Year's Eve was especially noisy, with the firing of guns to bring in the New Year. Ordinances in both the Netherlands and New Netherland eventually prohibited such behavior. The special treat for New Year's Day in the Netherlands was nieuwjaarskoeken (thick crisp waters), which originated in the eastern part of the country and adjoining parts of Germany. These wafers were made in a special wafer iron. The oblong or round long-handleed irons, made by blacksmiths, created imprints of a religious or secular nature on the wafers. Wafer irons were often given as a wedding gift, even in this country. Enormous quantities of wafers were prepared on New Year's Day. The were consumed by family, servants, and guests distributed to children, who went from house to house singing New Year songs, while collecting their share of treats along the way. There is ample evidence in diaries and letters that Dutch Americans continued the custom of visiting each other on New Year's Day. In New Netherland...the nieuwjaarskoeken were molded in wooden cake-boards, instead of wafer irons...The American New Year's cake is a combination of two Dutch pastries brought here by the early settlers, the nieuwjaarskoeken described above and spiced, chewy, honey cakes formed in a wooden mold or cake-board. It was in the late eighteenth century that this homemade pastry prepared in heirloom wafer irons by the Dutch, changed to a mostly store-bought product purchased by the population at large."
    ---Matters of Taste: Food and Drink in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art and Life, Donna R. Barnes and Peter G. Rose [Syracuse University Press:Syracuse NY] 2002 (p. 24-5)

    [1847]
    "In New York City, where it is the custom for ladies to remain at home to recieve the calls of their gentlemen friends, there is not time nor occasion for dinners; should it be desirable, it would be similar to that for Christmas, or instead--a cold roasted turkey, (bone it if you can) cold boiled ham or tongue, a large glass salad-bowl of pickled oysters, or an oyster pie with dressed celery or a chicken salad, with jelly puffs and tarts and small mince pies, blancmange, de russe and jellies and ice cream and fancy cakes, with syrup water and orgeat or lemonade for temperance, or wines and punch. The manner of celebrating New Year's day by calls, is a peculiarity of our own, and having so few which are 'native here,' many of our wisest and best, have wished that this might in no wise be slighted. Many a feud-divided family have been united, and misunderstanding friends been brought together, under the all-pervading hospitality and genial influence which distinguishes the day."
    ---The American System of Cookery, Mrs. T. J. Crowen [T.J. Crowen:New York] 1847 (p. 405)

    Old West saloon food & drink

    [1880]
    "New Year's Dinners.--Raw oysters; mock tutle soup; boiled turkey with oyster sauce; roast haunch of venison; currant jelly; devilied crabs; potato souffle, baked turnips, stuffed cabbage, beets, lima beans, dried corn, and canned pease; biscuit, French rolls, rye and Indian bread; chicken salad, cold sliced ham; celery, cold slaw garnished with fried oysters, pickled walnuts, variety pickles; sweet pickled cucumbers, peaches, and plums, spiced currants and gooseberries canned pears or strawberries; English plum pudding; chess pie, potato pie, mince pie; orange souffle, pyramid pound cake, black cake, Phil Sheridan cake; Bohemian cream; oranges, raisins, figs, nuts; tea, coffeee, chocolate.
    New Year's Table.--When receiving calls on New Years' Day, the table should be handsomely arranged and decorated, and provided with rather substantial dishes, such as would suit the taste of gentlemen. Too great profusion, especially of cakes, confectonery, and ices, is out of taste. Selections may be made from the following: Escaloped oysters; cold tongue, turkey, chicken, and ham, pressed meats, boned turkey, jellied chicken; salads, cold slaw garnished with fried oysters; bottled pickles, French or Spanish pickles; jellies; charlotte-russe, ice-creams, ices; two large handsome cakes for decoration of table, and one or two baskets of miced cake, fruit, layer, and sponge cake predonimating; fruits; nuts; coffee, chocolate with whipped cream, lemonade."
    ---Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, revised and enlarged [Buckeye Publishing Co.:Minneapolis MN] 1880 (p. 351)

    [1886]
    "A general and cordial reception of gentlemen guests upon the first day of the year, by the ladies of almost every household, also by clergymen, and by gentlemen upon the first New-Year's Day after marriage, is a Knickerbocker custom which prevailed in New York, with scarce any innovations, until within the last ten years. It was once a day when all gentlemen offered congratulations to each of their lady acquaintences, and even employes of a gentleman were permitted to pay their respects, and to eat and drink with the ladies of the household. Hospitalities were then lavishly offered and as lavishly received. This custom began when the city was small, but it has now quite outgrown those possibilities which the original usages of the day could compass without difficulty. Beside, there came a time when this excessive social freedom was proportionate to our over-large liberties, therefore, our hospitalities were narrowed down to a lady's own circle of acquaintences. Even this boundary in many instances widened to so extended a circumference that not a few of our kindliest and most hospitable of ladies have been compelled either to close their doors upon this day of hand-shaking, eating, and drinking, or else to issue cards of welcome to as many of their gentlemen acquaintences as they can entertain in a single day. Not many ladies in New York are, however, placed upon such heights of popularity as to make this limitation a genuine necessity, and others may choose to receive congratulations upon New-Year's-Day only from relatives and intimate friends...ladies who recieve in a general way whoever choose to call upon them are now almost certain that the old-time crowds which thronged all open doors a decade ago will no longer intrude upon those from who they are uncertain even of a recognition...to be considered a man of to-day, he must be well-bred and unobtrusive, even during this gala season... Those who entertain elaborately upon New-Year's-Day sometimes send out cards of invitation...They are handsomely engraved... Many gentlemen, even among those who take wine ordinarily, refuse it upon this day, because they do not like to accept it at the hand of one lady and refuse it from that of another. Again, many ladies, from whose daily tables the glitter of wine-glasses is never absent, do not supply this drink to their guests upon this day, because it is dangerous for their acquaintences to partake of varied vintages, the more specially while passing in and out of over-heated drawing rooms. Delicacies, coffee, chocolate, tea, and bouillon, are supplied in their places, whether the wines be withheld by kindly considerateness, or through conscientious scruples."
    ---Social Etiquette in New York, Abby Buchanan Longstreet, facsimile 1886 new and enlarged edition [Eastern National: Fort Washington PA] 2002 (p. 187-196)

    [1886]
    "When refreshments are provided for callers on this day, the tastes of gentlemen only are to be consulted, and it is understood taht they prefer rather substantial dishes. Handsome decorations for the table are desirable. Hot coffee is a prime requisite. Sandwiches, salads, pickles, jellies, and three or four kinds of cold meats may be provided. Escaloped oysters are relishable. Two or three ornamented cakes for decoration, and one or two baskets of mixed cake, will be needed, and such fresh fruits as can be obtained, including bananas, oranges, and white grapes. Wine is no longer found upon the New Year's table in this latitude."
    ---Kansas Home Cook-Book consisting of recipes contributed by ladies of Leavenworth and other cities and towns, compiled by Mrs. C.H. Cushing and Mrs. B. Gray, facsimile 1886 edition [Creative Cookbooks:Monterey CA] 2001 (p. 39)

    [1890]
    "Dinner: Mock Turtle Soup, Panned Guinea Fowls, Broiled Bacon, Potato Puff, Stewed Tomatoes, Corn, Mayonnaise of Celery, Wafers, Cheese, Marlborough Pudding Coffee."
    ---"New Menus For January," Mrs. S.T. Rorer, Table Talk (magazine), January 1890 (p. 4)

    [1898]
    "Good resolutions and good cooking will go a great way toward lessening the miseries of this of this nation of dyspeptics. New Year's Day is a good time to make the good resolution and eat the good dinner, provided the financial standing of the dinner is equal to it or his credit is good. For one day in the year the quick lunch establishment ought to be left tight closed. If we can't enjoy a good dinner on New Year's Day, then our lot is indeed a sad one...
    Oysters on Half Shell, Crean of Tapioca, Pontange Patties, Celery, Olives, Radishes, Smelts Sauteed in Brown Butter, Cucumber Salad, Lamb Chops in Papers, New Spinach, Potato Rissoles, Roast Turkey Stuffed with Chestnuts, Romaine Salad, Mince Pie, Brown Bread, Ice Cream, Coffee.
    Mock Turtle Soup, Boiled Striped Bass, Hollandaise Sauce, Cucumbers, Saddle of Venison, Port Wine Sauce, Currant Jelly, Braised Celery, Sweetbreads, Mushroom Sauce, Roast Turkey Stuffed, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potaotes, Boiled Onions, Turnips, Beets, Squash, Pumpkin Pie, Mince Pie,, Plum Pudding, Cake, Sage cheeses, Coffee."
    ---"Good Resolutions and Dinner," Washington Post, December 25, 1898 (p. 16)


    "A New Year's Menu: Breakfast, Oranges, Oatmeal, Cream, Radishes. Cress. Olives, Broiled Trout, Sauce a la Tartare, Potatoes a la Duchesse, Creamed Chicken. Omelette aux Confitures, Salade a la Creole, Batter Cakes, Louisiana Syrup. Fresh Butter, Cafe au Lait."
    "Dinner: Oysters on the half Shell, Spanish Olives. Celery. Pickles, Salted Almonds, Green Turtle Soup, Croutons, Broiled Spanish Mackerel, Sauce a la Maitre d'Hotel, Julienne Potatoes, Lamb Cutlets Breaded, Sauce Soubise, Green Peas, Sweetbreads a la Creole, Ponche a la Romaine, Roast Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Baked Yams. Cauliflower au Gratin, Asparagus a la Matre d'Hotel, Lettuce, Salad Dressing, Broiled Snipe on Toast, Pouding a la Reine, Wine Sauce. Mince Pie, Cocoanut Custard Pie, Biscuit Glace. Petits Fours. Fruits. Nuts, Raisins, Cheese. Toasted Crackers, Cafe Noir."
    "Supper: Cold Turkey, Currant Jelly, Celery Salad, French Rolls. Butter. Assorted Cakes, Fruit. Nuts, Tea."
    "A More Economical New Year's Menu: Breakfast, Sliced Oranges, Oatmeal and Cream, Broiled Spring Chicken. Julienne Potatoes, Radishes. Celery, Egg Muffins. Fresh Butter. Louisiana Syrup, Cafe au Lait.
    "Dinner: Consomme, Radishes, Celery, Olives, Pickles, Boiled Sheepshead, Cream Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Vol-au-Vent of Chicken, Salmi of Wild Duck. Green Peas, Banana Fritters, Roast Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Baked Yams, Sliced and Buttered, Green Pepper and Tomato Salad, French Dressing, Points d'Asperges au Beurre, Mince Pie. Roquefort, Vanilla Ice Cream. Sponge Cake, Assorted Fruits. Nuts. Raisins, Cafe Noir.
    "Supper: Cold Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Tomato Salad. Cake. Fruit. Tea."
    ---The Picayune's Creole Cook Book, facsimile 2nd edition, 1901 [Dover Publications:New York] 1971 (p. 432)

    [1910]
    "Judging by the reservations for supper to-night, at the various hotels and restaurants, the New Year's celebration will be greater than that of last year. Close to 100,000 men and women will take supper out...This means that a million dollars will be put in circulation in the city to pay for suppers, flowers, wines, cigars and taxicabs. Since January 1, 1910, four new restaurants, the Ritz Carleton, Rector's, The Martinique, and Louis Martin's have opened and will accomodate 3,500 guests to-night...In order that there should be no violation with the midnight closing law...all guests will be required to give their orders for wine and drinks before the magic hour...by that time each table will be surrounded with ice buckets in which the bottles repose until they are needed by the thirsty revelers...It has also been said that even should a guest forget to give his order in time he will not go thirsty. A few of the old-time restaurants...still hold to their rule, established twenty years ago, that nothing will be served after 9 o'clock in the restaurant except for champagne."
    ---"Hotels to be Filled for New Year's Eve...Plates $5 each without wine," New York Times, December 31, 1910 (p. 6)

    [1911]
    "New Year's Afternoon Tea
    "Menu No. 1: Attleboro Sandwiches, Jam Jumbles, Walnut Meringue Squares, Salted Almonds, Five O'clock Tea
    Menu No. 2: Devonshire Sandwiches, Buttered Eduators, Scotch Five O'clock Tea, Sultana Sticks, Hickory Nougat, Russian Tea, Hot Chocolate and Whipped Cream
    Menu No. 3: Noisette Sandwiches, Peanut Crisps, Rochester Sandwiches, Florida Orange Sticks, Turkish Delight, Iced Tea, Five O'Clock Cocoa
    Menu No. IV: Lobster Patties, Huntington Chicken, Tea Rolls, Orange Honey Sticks, Pineapple Mousees, Macaroons, Silver Sponge Cakes, Oriental Punch"
    ---Catering for Special Occasions With Menus & Recipes, Fannie Merritt Farmer [David McKay:Philadelphia] 1911 (p. 3-25)

    [1917]
    "At this season of the year we gather a few friends to watch the old year out and the new year in and later in the day to entertain callers. The custom of New Year's day visiting is an old European custom and is still much practiced in the South. Keeping open house on the first day of teh new year need not entail a great expense: a little forethought and preparation give one a great variety. When wanting a few friends to watch the old year out and the new year in, serve a buffet supper luncheon a la Russe New Year's day. Then dinner in the evening...Menu for Mignight Supper. New Year's Watch: Pickled Oysters, Turkey Salad, Corn Muffins, Rye Bread, Canned Fruit, War Cake, Tea, Coffee...A New Year's Menu, Breakfast: Canned Raspberries, Cereal and Fruit Whip, Panned Mackerel, Baked Potatoes, Toasted Corn Muffins, Coffee. Dinner: Oysters on the Half Shell, Roast Guinea Hen, Sage Dressing, Brown Gravy, Cranberry Jelly, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Plum Pudding, Coffee."
    ---"New Year's Hospitality," Mrs. M.A. Wilson, Washington Post, December 23, 1917 (p. SM8)

    [1920]
    "Menus for the New Year's Party. Planning a real, old-fashioned watch party to see the old year out and the new one in will afford a real entertainment. Have the folks arrive about 10 o'clock and then pass an hour and a half in dancing, singing and generally having a real good old-fashioned time. The about 11.45 serve the supper, so that just before midnight all are ready with a toast to the new year. Arrange so that each guest is in his place standing, with a wassail cup in hand, and then at three minutes of 12, darken the room. The 12 o'clock is struck, turn on the lights and drink a Happy New Year. New Year merrymaking is as old as the history of England. There the head of the house assembles the family around the wassail bowl to drink to the healths of every one. The Saxon phrase 'Wasshael' means 'Your Health'; hence the wassail bowl. In many of the shires and counties the lads and lasies secure a large bowl and ornament it with ribbons and artificial flowers, and, with this visit the gentry, all the while singing songs suitable to the occasion...Here are some suggestions for supper: Menu No. 1: Celery, Olives, Home-made Pickles, Chicken a la King, Potato Croquettes, Cheese Crackers, Cake, Jelly, Coffee. Menu NO. 2: Radishes, Celery, Home-made Relishes, Virginia Baked Ham, Potato Salad, Rolls, Butter, Coffee, Cake...An old custom of the new year has been revived--making calls. Folks now visit about on New Year's Day very much in the same way as grandma entertained and kept open house on this day. To serve on New Year's visits: Celery, Olives, Pimento Sandwiches, Baked Ham Sandwiches, Celery and Cheese Sandwiches, Tea, Coffee or Cocoa. Other folks will perfere to entertain with a New Year's dinner...Oysters on Half Shell, Celery, Ye Olde-tyme Vegetable Soup, Boiled Fish, Egg Sauce, Baked Ham, Champagne Style Sauce, Browned Potatoes, Peas, Coleslaw, Mince or Apple Pie, Coffee, Nuts, Raisins"..."A Midnight Repast: Oysters a la Newburg, Pimento Sandwiches, Pickles, Celery, Salted Nuts, New Year's Punch or Creamed Chicken Delmonte, Celery Salad, Home-made Pickles, Olives, Rolls, Butter, New Year's Punch, Tea or Coffee."
    ---Mrs. Wilson's Cook Book, Mrs. Mary A. Wilson [J.B. Lippincott Company:Philadelphia PA] 1920 (p. 476-478, 485))

    [1921]
    "Records at the various hotels show that the reservations for tables are reaching the figures of pre-war days, and that out-of-town guests make up a goodly number of these reservations. The local merrymakers have not been overshadowed...After two years of dry law enforecment the people of this country have at last got the stride of this new dry law tune and have not found it as bad as it might be. Just as last year and the year before, liquor will be taboo. None will be sold in any of the big hotels. It is now an accepted fact that the eagle-eyed dry agent is to be reckoned with, and it remains to be seen how many will brave this vigilance and 'carry their own' along. It is generally known that the hotel employes cannot interfere with a patron's private supply which he has with him, but the ruling as to the restrictions of the dry agents are not so well defined, and only the most courageous are willing to stand the consquences. The hotel managers are all agreed that they will not permit their waiters to serve anything intoxicating. 'Oscar' of the Waldorf-Astoria said yesterday that from 600 to 700 reservations had been made there and that there would be more than 5,000 in the dining room of the Waldorf-Astoria, McAlpin, Claridge and Martinique, Louis Sherry's will have a throusand merrymakers in their dining rooms, while in almost every home throughout the big Park Avenue apartment houses there will be a large private party. The Ritz-Carleton again tops the list for expensive cover charges. Supper wil be served there at $15 a cover, although a less elaborate one will be served for $12. Elaborate Cartier vanity cases, tipped with gold, will be given as souveniers for the ladies in all the dining rooms. Supper bwill be served at $10 a cover at the Plaza, St. Regis, Pierre's Sherry's and the Ambassador."
    ---"New Year Crowds To Fill The Hotels," New York Times, December 31, 1921 (p. 6)

    [1925]
    "There will be entertainment to satisfy every whim and to fit every purse in the hotels and reastuarants in the city on New Year's Eve. Rounding out a year of great prosperity the residents of New York, according to advance reservations at all the important scenes of gayety, are bent on having a fitting celebration to usher in your 1936. It has been many years since such a number of reservations has been made weeks ahead of time. For a month all the bookings for private dining rooms have beeen closed and many of the more poplar restaurants have been unable to take more reservations. The Broadway resorts will be especially festive, Some of them, facing padlocks, will make the most of this great occasion and at some of them as much as $25 is being asked for a place...[average] prices range from $6 to $16."
    ---"Gay New Year's Eve Forecast in City," New York Times, December 27, 1925 (p. E1)

    [1926]
    "The usual New Year's eve party that begins with dinner at 7, theater at 8:30, and dancing at 11, to be continued until morning, is bound to be a bore as well as a killer. If you have dinner early and go to the theater and then on somewhere to dance until 12 it is wise to disperse shortly after midnight. If you are invited to such a party you are not a social flop if you leave before 1 o'clock. It is the proper thing to do. If you are invited for ten o'clock that is a different matter and you may stay as long as you like--to breakfast if you are invited. In fact, some of the merriest New Year's eve parties are those which begin late and last until morning...On of my correspondents is entertaining her bridge club and their husbands thus on New Years eve. As she has a small house she is serving on the bridge tables at twelve o'clock a nice supper of: Puree of Chestnuts, Celery and Olives, Turkey Patties, Green Peas, Julien Potatoes, Hot Rolls, Raspberry Ice and Vanilla Ice Cream, Coffee, Cake. She is also providing a breakfast of ham and eggs to be cooked by herself and some of the party on chafing dishes in the dining room, later on. If you take a party to the theater and which supper afterwards in a restaurant, it is wise on a crowded night like New Year's eve to order it in advance when you reserve your table. A Restaurant Party. Home parties are much more fun, of course, than those in public places and, besides all the other things to recommend them, they may be made original and so merrier."
    ---"New Year's Eve Festivities: Suggestions for Parties, Large and Small, at Home, or in Cafe or Hotel," Persis Standis Chicago Daily Tribune, December 26, 1926 (p. E2)

    [1928]
    "New Year's day, concluding the week of strenuous Christmas gayeties, is the ideal occasion for informal affairs, such as at homes, teas, receptions, or buffet luncheons or suppers. At the beginning of a new year, it is a pleasant custom to welcome friends and acquaintences to your home, renewing friendly bonds and exchanging greetings and wishes for a felicitious twelve months to come...Home parties for New Year's eve are becoming more popular than the large celebrations that a few years ago were accepted way of seeing the old year out. The buffet affair, with a lap supper, or refreshments served on card tables, at midnight, is the simplest and most successful sort of party to give."
    ---"The New Year's Party Should Be Informal," Sally Lunn, Chicago Daily Tribune,, December 29, 1928 (p. 8)

    [1936]
    "Announcement that he curfew will not ring during th early hours of the new year sent shivers of delight along Broadway and Park avenue tonight. Hotel and nigh club operators promptly posted prices for what they predicted will be the highest and dizziest New Year's Eve celebration since the beginning of time, and let it be known that reservations are in order. Encouraged by the recent flurry of dividend checks and other bullish news, at least eight spots decided that $15 per person will be about right. For this nominal sum, the lucky patron will be permitted to sit at a table in a chair all his own, eat his supper, watch the entertianment and yell his head off when the zero hour approaches. In case he can't yell, he will find beside his plate an infernal machine that will bake all the noise he wants when agitated in the proper manner. Doubtless, he will be showered with confetti, at no extra charge. Of course, if he should thirst for anything stronger than water he may have at it, at the usual rates, over and above the initial $15. The more gluttonous citizens should be attracted by the offer of one restaurant in the 'frantic fifties' to serve supper and all-you-can-drink for $10."
    ---"New Year's Eve Supper $15, 'Nominal Sum' Set in Manhattan for Wild Celebration," Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1936 (part L, p. 2)

    "New Year's Eve Buffet Supper: (1) Creamed Chicken and Mushrooms on Toast, Olives, Carrot Sticks, Hot Mincemeat Tarts a la Mode, Coffee. (2) Sea Food Au Gratin on the Halfshell, Salad Bowl of Shredded Vegetables and French Dressing, Tiny Cocktail Gherkins, Midget Hot Biscuits, Currant Jelly, Crisp Cookies, Spiced Grapefruit."
    ---"Buffet Supper is Ideal for New Year's Eve," Mary Meade, Chicago Daily Tribune, December 30, 1936 (p. 16)

    [1937]
    "Starting the New Year with a well-planned breakafst is an excellent idea. For those who have a holiday on Saturday, the breakfast will be late, and take the form of 'brunch.' If there has been a New Year's Eve party, the menu will need an abundance of 'counteractors' to offset the effects of little sleep and a possible hangover. Citrus fruits are needed on thsi emny. These alkaline foods that have a tart acid taste will appeal to the palate and assist in relieving the dark brown taste...
    New Years Breakfast: (1) Chilled orange juice, English muffins split and toasted with a slice of broiled ham and a poached egg, Coffee, Milk for children. (2) Halves of grapefruit served with sherry, Thin rolled omelet with herb filling, Finger rolls toasted, Coffee, Milk for children. For a large party, the breakfast seved buffet style at Rockefeller Center is a suggestion. Grapefruit halves, kippered herring, scrambled eggs, bacon, muffins with organge marmelade on the menu. The main meal on New Year's in most homes will be served in the evening. Roast whole sucking pig is the suggestion for a festive dish. Roast ham or leg of lamb are also festive. In the South, there is a tradition that black-eyed pease served on New year's brings good luck. One saying even goes so far as to promise a dollar for each pea eaten.
    New Year's Dinner: Tomato consomme, Roast young suckling pig, Blackeyed peas, Buttered cooked greens, lettuce salad with Russian dressing, Fresh strawberry mousse, Yellow angel food cake, Coffee."Washington Post, December 31, 1937 (p. 12)

    "New Year's Buffet: New Year's Eggnogg, Thin Chicken Sandwiches, Asparagus Tip Canapes, Fruit Cake, Salted Nuts, Candies, Lobster Bisque, Toasted Crackers, Chicken and Pineapple Salad, Finger Rolls, Syllabub, French Almond Cake, Coffee."
    ---America's Cook Book, Home Institute of The New York Herald Tribune, [Charles Scribner's:New York] 1937 (p. 861)

    [1938]
    "This Sunday supper would also be appropriate for a New Year's Eve Snack...Sliced Cold Breast of Turkey, Potato Chips, Cranberry Relish, Fresh Pineapple Fingers, Ribbon Sandwich Loaf, Coffee, Fruit Cake."
    ---Marian Manners recipe column,Los Angeles Times, December 31, 1938 (p. A7)

    [1941]
    "It is a brand-new model of New Year's we are experiencing this year. We may approach it with apprehension, for we don't knwo what is around the curve for us, but that doesn't mean we should not gather our friends about us New Year's Even and sing 'Auld Lang Syne' and look forward to happier days...The kind of celebrating we do this New Year's will not mean formality and a lot of fancy food, but more old-time suppers, with guests helping themselves to something steaming, fragrant and delicious. You can't beat the buffet supper for ease of preparation and service and an assortment of food that will please all guests. These will be fruit punches, spiced cider, eggnog and other drinks at New Year's Day open houses, so why not try a an new beginning and have a tray holding glasses of hot vegetable punch?"
    ---"Buffet Supper Favorite Way to Greet New Year," Martha Ellyn, Washignton Post, December 30, 1941 (p. 15)

    [1944]
    "New Year's Eve Supper: Tomato Juice with Lime, Casserole of Baked Beans, Green Salad Bowl, Fruited Gingerbread, Cream Cheese Frosting, Coffee, salted Nuts."
    ---"Easy Supper for New Year Open House," Marian Manners, Los Angeles Times, December 31, 1944 (p. C4)

    [1948]
    "Midnight Buffet Supper: Festive Baked Ham, Potato Boats Filled with Peas au Gratin, Individual Cranberry and Apple Molds, Crisp Relish Tray, Corn Bread Sticks, Orange Cream Mincemeat Pie, Coffee...
    New Year's Eve Open House: Part Sandwich Loaf, Crisp Relishes, 1949-er Cider Punch, Salted Filberts and Almonds, Sugared Walnuts."
    ---"Menus for Merriment," Joyce Grush, December 26, 1948 (p. G7)

    [1951]
    "You need not mingle with the millions in order to have fun on New Year's Eve. A small party at home with close friends can be far more enjoyable than an evening spent buffeted around by strangers and uninhibited pranksters. Twelve people is a good number, one for each month of the New Year. Whe old friends gather, there is no need to plan entertainment, for time just seems to whick away, 'doin' what comes naturally'--singing, dancing or just talking and reminiscing. And suddenly it is midnight, time for Auld Lang Syne , and supper. If you have the perfect combination of 12 people and a large, round table, set that table to resemble a huge clock, with one guset seated at each marked hour, and two large paper hands indicating the hour. Lacking this, make a timely centerpiece...Use little hourglass egg timers, also from the blessed ten cent store, for favors, and have each guest's name lettered on a bright and shining leaf for a place card. On the reverse side, the message, 'You have just turned over a new leaf!' And here is a menu that can be prepared ahead of thiem and ready for last minute assembling. It is simple, yet hearty, for New Year's Eve is one evening when midnight supper really is a supper.
    Menu: Old-Fashioned Chicken Pie, Clock Salads, New Peas (Frozen), New Leaf Biscuits, Date Refrigerator Roll, Punch, Milk."
    ---"Hearty Midnight Supper Can Usher in New Year," Helen Houston Boileau, Christian Science Monitor, December 17, 1951 (p. 12)

    [1953]
    "'Ring out the old, ring in the new,' There's no better way to watch the old year out and usher in the New Year than to serve an attractive and tempting buffet supper...Watch Punch Party: Vintage '54 Punch, Cheddar-Ham Rarebit, Brunswick Mincemeat Tarts."
    ---""The Honored Guest: New Year 1954," Elinor Lee, Washington Post, December 29, 1953 (p. 19)

    [1955]
    "New Year's Day: Susan's Rib Roast of Beef, Horseradish Sauce 1 or II, Potatoes and Onions (browned with meat), Lettuce with French Dressing, Brown-and-Serve Rolls, Eggnogg Ice Cream, Prickly Butter Balls or Fruitcake, Coffee (instant), Milk."
    ---Good Housekeeping Cook Book, Dorothy B. Marsh [Good Housekeeping:New York] 1955(p. 609)

    [1956]
    "New Year's Eve Buffet: Eggnogg or Fruit Punch, Tray of Crackers, Bowl of Cheese Spread, Baked Ham (Sliced), Roast Turkey (Sliced), Buttered Thin Slices of Rye, Whole Wheat, and White Breads, Olives, Celery, Radishes, Pickles, Potato Salad, Cranberry Jelly, New Year Clock Cookies."
    ---Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, Revised and Enlarged, 2nd edition [McGraw-Hill:New York] 1956 (p. 57)

    [1963]
    "New Yorkers who go out to greet the New Year will be able to choose settings that range from dancing to the music of Guy Lombardo in the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal to a beer at the corner bar. Most places offerng entertainment or dancing on New Year's Eve will impose a cover charge or a a minimum, which usually can be devoted to food or drinks. The minimum in some cases constitutes a s charge for a complete meal but does not include liquor. In these instances the menu is usually diesignated in advance. Celebrants are most apt to find themselves eating filet mignon or roast beef but if they wish drinks they can choose their own weapons. The main concourse of Grand Central Terminal will be turned into a ballroom for the first time for the Bell Ringer Ball for Mental Health, a benefit for the National Associaton of Mental Health. Tables for 3,000 persons will be set up in a roped-off area...A daring policy of including dfrinsk in a fixed price for the evening, started seven years ago by the Living Room, 915 Second Avenue, will be continued this year. At two separate parties...the Living Room is offering for $15 'all you can drink of anything' plus a basket supper (fried chicken, shrimp, meatballs)."
    ---"Nightclubs Plan New Year's Fare," John S. Wilson, New York Times, December 26, 1963 (p. 34)

    [1966]
    "A Buffet Supper for New Year's Eve: Punch Charentaise, Anchovy-Egg Boats, Chicken-Liver Pate, Sesame-Cheese Roll,Thin Slices of Dark Bread,Cold Glazed Corned Beef, Cauliflower Pickle, Mixed Salad Greens, Mustard French Dressing, Cranberry Sponge Roll, Bisque Tortoni." (p. 51)
    "A Dinner for New Year's Day: 1. Cantaloupe with Honeydew Balls, Stuffed Squabs, Wild Rice, Brussels Sprouts with Celery Knob, Chickory with Mandarin Oranges, Chestnut Pie.
    "Consomme Julienne, Beef Wellington, Sauce Madere, Rissole Potatoes, Spinach with Sauteed Mushrooms, Grand Marnier Pudding." (p. 48)
    ---New York Times Menu Cook Book, Craig Claiborne [Harper & Row:New York] 1966

    "No amount of snacking and quaffing at a New Year's Eve party will satisfy guests' appetites for a real meal. The hostesses should be ready with substantial food to welcome in the brand new calendar. A buffet supper fits the free spirit of the occasion. The food may be the old standbys--ham and turkey--but most will appreciate new and different flavors. Here's a new-tasting menu that lends itself ot pre-preparations, hodling and waiting.
    Midnight Buffet: California Consomme, Beef Sweetbreads in Wine Sauce, Rice and Chicken, Brussels Sprouts and Celery, Greens Tossed with Pomegranate Seeds, Oil-vinegar Dressing, Roquefort Dressing, Croissants, Butter, Hot Fruit Compote, Christmas Cookies, French Chocolate, Hot Coffee, Liqueurs.
    Cue table decorations to the clock, the horoscope theme or New Year's resolutions. Switch from the red and green of Christmas to a glamorous all-white centerpiece or a black and white scheme with touches of red."
    ---"A Buffet Supper to Ring in New Year," Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1966 (p. D2)

    [1969]
    "Bowls came into their own at this time of year. The Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and all the other football bowl games offer reason enough for a Bowl Brunch to begin the new year lightly. For a New Year's Day brunch, smart hostesses call the signals for a more fun-than-fuss kind of party that's custom made for the new and relaxed life style of the '70s. Kick-off for the burnch is a sldeliner, a hot and tasty combination of tomato juice and vodka. To nibble alongside Whirlygigs, meat-filled biscuit pinwheels. Omelets, extra reich because they're whisked with cream and topped with a spoonful of caviar, red or black, are sure to win a touchdown with arm chair fans. The dessert is Chocolate Bavarian Cream in the shape of a trophy football."
    ---"Bowl Brunch Rings Bells," Washington Post, December 29, 1969 (p. D15)

    [1970]
    "Cocktail Buffet: Salted Almonds, Caviar Pastires, Iced Pickled Shrimps, Curried Stuffed Eggs, Anchovy Eggs, Cheese Sticks, Celery Curls, Mushroom Toasts, Smoked Turkey Toasts, Walnut Cheese Bowl, Walnut Wheat Bread, Hot Veal Balls, Salami Cornucopias, Smoked Salmon Canapes, Potato Chips, Cucumber Sandwiches, Salted Cherry Tomatoes."
    ---Gorumet, January 1970 (p. 30)

    [1974]
    "New Year's Eve Buffet: Pointsettia Eggs en Gelee, Shrimp Curry, Steamed Rice, Poppadums, Pineapple and date Chutney, Mango Chutney, Chopped Scallions, Gingered Coconut Chips, Chocoalte Timbale a la Malakoff, Extra Dry Champagne."
    ---Gourmet, January 1974 (p. 42)

    [1976]
    "Tradition dies hard in many homes, particularly around the holidays. Many families wouldn't think of greeting the new year without a steaming pot of oyster stew. Their parents always did, and so did their grandparents. Others wouldn't dream of bidding goodbye to the old year and welcoming in the new without sharing a bowl of black-eyed peas with friends...Traditional foods crip up in surprising places dring holiday celebrations. But there's one thing that should be noted about these culinary traditions. Most of the foods involved tend to be plebian, abut not pedestrian. They're simple dishes--hearty and filling and loaded with good, gutsy flavor. By today's standards, some such as oyster stew, aren't cheap. But if you were brought up to expect a hot bowl of this rich soup-stew on New Year's Day, the expense will just have to be endured."
    ---"Traditional New Year's Fare for the Happy Reveler," Betsy Balsley, Los Angeles Times, December 27, 1976 (p. H1)

    [1979]
    "What to have for New Year's Eve Dinner is sure to be a dilemma. Although Jan. 1 does not begin the new year for all poeple in the world, a dinner reflecting the food choices of a different nationality can be interesting and fun to prepare. Chinese or Japanese cuisine offers many creative and quick-to-prepare dishes. With the aid of a wok, bean sprouts, mung shoots, peapods and other Chinese vegetables, combined with chicken, steak or pork, and seasoned with tabasco or soy sauce, can be stir-fried in minutes.... For those who prefer a meal that sits a little longer in the stomach, Italy offers dishes that are both delicious and filling. Lasagna, Italian bread and a salad are sure to pelase everyone. Add a piece of cheesecake or a cannoli as dessert, and the menu is complete. From 'south of the border' come menu ideas that are reminders of the sunny, 'hot' climate of Mexico. Tacos, cornbread, enchiladas and guacamole can add the spice of life to a dinner."
    ---"New Year's Dinner Ideas," Los Angeles Times, Nivember 23, 1979 (p. OC_G41)

    [1981]
    "Windows on the World. Specatcular setting srarely signify spectacular food, and that is unfortunately true in this...However, they can all be relied on for something decent, if you order carefully. If a special setting is needed for yourself or your guests (especially if they are from out of town), you might well consider one of them. On a clear day, you can see almost to 1983 from Windows on the World, the gorgeous restaurant on the 107th floor of 1 World Trade Center (938-1111; open noon to 2:30PM). Surely, the view's the thing, and to take it in, you might consider it worth the effort to pick your way carefully through the buffet offerings. There are some good quality selections, but they are fleshed out with delicatessen-type salads and meats. If you bypass some of the obvious fillers and stick to herrings, soused shrimp, some of the cold fish specialties and such hot dishes as chicken hash James Beard and loin of pork stuffed with prunes, and then have some chocolate cake or lemon tart, you should feel as though you had fair value for $17.95. Service is touch and go, but you take most of the food yourself form the buffet."
    ---"Brunch in New York: A New Year's Day Roundup," Mimi Sheraton, New York Times, December 31, 1981 (p. C1) [NOTE: The other two restaurants alluded to by this passage are Tavern on the Green & The Plaza.]

    [1983]
    "A Gala New Year's Eve: 9PM Preambles in the Kitchen; Sausages, Two-Toned Braided Loaves, Saucisson en Croute, Baked Kentucky Ham, Cream Biscuits.
    Midnight Toast to the New Year: Oysters on the Half Shell, Rabbit Terrine, Toasted Pain de Mie.
    1 AM Supper: Oxtail Ragout in Madiera, Green Noodles with Parmesan, Salad of Endive Watercress Beets, Chinz and Velvet Holiday Cake, Tuiles."
    ---Bon Appetit Dinner Party Cookbook, Bon Appetit [Knapp Press:Los Angeles] 1983 (p. 209)
    [NOTE: Wine suggestions are chilled Beaujolais Nouveau, French Champagne and red Bordeau or California Cabernet Sauvignon.]

    [1986]
    "Our New Year's Eve dinners are a microcosim of the evolution in American dining, though from time to time my co-host puts her foot down at what she consideres my avant-guard ideas. When I suggested that this year we serve diner food--meatloaf and mashed poatotoes--she suggested that I had taken leave of my senses. It was hardly a suggestion, I would hav made, even in jest, in the early 1970's, a time when a formal meal was incomplete without beef and six courses. In 1971, we were all avid followers of Julia Child. nodish for the all-French menu that year was too time-consuming, so the first course was quenelles of sole with sauce Nantua...For the main course we served filet of beef with sauce Bernaise. It was not until 1975 that we dared to serve rockfish en papilllote as an entree, and we agonized over it for weeks. It's hard to remember, but not everyone ate fish then...By 1979, the winds of change were alread evident. Food was becoming lighter, and an occasional non-French dish turned up on the menu. We even served chicken, albeit breasts stuffed with fresh truffles. The carrots were pureed in keeping with the nouvelle cuisine influence, but we gave them a slightly exotic twist with a but of cumin. Creme fraiche had entred our lives--the hoemmade version created with buttermilk and cream. It accompanied our first American dish--zucchini pancakes--one of the earliest signs, I think, of the coming revolution."
    ---"New Year, New Fare," Marian Burros, New York Times, December 21, 1986 (p. SM49)

    [1987]
    "A Midnight Supper: Paprika Shrimp Butter, Salmon and Green Peppercorn Butter, Crackers, Fennel Crudites, Apricot-Glazed Ham, Maple Mustard sauce, Orzo Parsley Gratin, Coleslaw with Hot Saraway Vinaigrette, Corn and MOlasses Rolls, Lemon Lime Bousee, Cinnamon Crips Pecans, Coctails, Staton Hills Vineyard Yakima Valley Johannisberg Reisling '85, Moet & Chandon White Star Extra Dry Champagne." (p. 74)
    "New Year's Eve Dinner for Two: Brie and Mushroom Tartlets, Beef Chicken and Vegetable Fondue, Curry and Chutney sauce, Roasted Red Pepper sauce, Wild Rice wtih Carrots and Onions, Spinach Fennel and Pink Grapefruit Salad, Raspberry Oatmeal Lce Cookies, Chocolate Mint Rruffles." (p. 69-70) ---Gourmet, January 1987

    [1994]
    "A Southern New Year's day Buffet: Beaujolais Nouveau '93, Dixie Beer, Brab-Meat Parmesan canapes, Duck and sausage Gumbo, Brown and White Rice, Hone-baked Ham, Black-Eyed Pea and Cabbage Salw, Thyme Corn Sticks, Mocha Rum Cake, Benne Seed Raisin bars." (p. 84)
    "New Year's Eve Supper for Two: Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame '85, Leek Prosciutto and Cheese Empanadas, Mixed Greend with Walnut Vinaigrette, Paella-Style Shellfish Pasta, Chocolate Almond Sherry Cake with Sherry Custard Sauce and Caramelized Pears." (p. 74)
    ---Gourmet, January 1994

    [1999]
    "New Year's Eve Cocktail Party...Times Square Cocktail, Cosmopolitan Champagne Cocktail, 'Fish and Chips,' Salt-and-Pepper Edamame, Jerk Pork and Red Pepper Mayo on Black-Eyed-Pea Cakes, Seared Foi Gras and Lingonberry Jam on Brioche Toasts, Panko Scallops with Green Chile Chutney, Spicy-Sweet Kumquats, Korean Barbecued Beef."
    ---Gourmet, December 1999 (p. 174)
    [NOTE: Here's the recipe for the Times Square Cocktail: Makes 10 Drinks. Active time: 5 min Start to finish: 1 1/4 hr. 1 1/4 cups Southern Comfort, 1/3 cup sweet vermouth, 1/2 cup grenadine, 5 cups chilled Champagne or other sparking wine. Stir together Southern Comfort, vermouth, and grenadine. Chill, covered, 2 to 6 hours. Just before serving, divide among 10 Champagne flutes and slowly add enough Champagne to top off." (p. 175)]

    "It is 6 PM on December 31, 1999, and guests are arriving for the last party of the 20th century. We expect to usher in the New Year with gusto and anticipation. However, there is some trepidation, some Y2K fear aroused within us. Our host, Sammy Cyberhunter, greets us looking poised and relaxed. How can that be? What about all of the organizing, shopping, and slaving over a hot stove to prepare for tonight's celebration? How can Sammy seem so calm? ..."Excuse Me, but Could I Get You Something to Drink?" Perhaps a glass of Chardonnay. We have a great Kendall Jackson 1997 Grand Reserve [http://www.kendalljackson.com]. Maybe you would prefer a soft drink, a Kir Royale or a Perrier with lime?" I inquire about red wine and choose a Willamette Valley, Oregon Pinot Noir [http://www.wine.com]. The nose is fresh and slightly fruity, but with just enough body to stand up to a discussion of Y2K, a situation created by the forerunners of today's Internet computer nerds. The World Wide Web assists the consumer in the search for wine with particular characteristics from thousands of wineries around the world. The history of alcoholic beverage sales imposes, and continues to impose, restrictions, such as the "three-tier-law," between vintners and consumers. Leaders in the online sales of wine have blazed trails and continue to endure law suits, which they hope will simplify national and international sales of wine on the Web. Virtual Vineyards [http://www.wine.com] and others [http://www.winehouse.com] sell a large selection of wines. Wine Search Online [http://www.winesearch-online.com] provides a comprehensive directory of online wine merchants. New wine sites go live every month. A much smaller list of wineries such as Kendall-Jackson [http://www.kendalljackson.com] and Rutherford Hill [http://www.rutherfordhill.com] sell their own wines directly online.. ."Hors d'Oeuvres, Anyone?" NewYear's Eve is not for worriers; we turn our attention from Y2K to aromas and flavors that excite the palate and satiate the soul. A selection of delectable appetizers appears: portabello mushrooms in filo triangles [http://HYPERLINK "javascript:void(0)"www.holidayfoods.com], cognac pate with water chestnuts and celery [http://HYPERLINK "javascript:void(0)"www.cfcc.ca/montecarlo.htm], and bacon-wrapped scallops [http://www. cateryourown.com]. I choose foie gras on a wheat cracker topped with a skosh of white truffle paste [http://www.deananddeluca.com] in porcini mush-room-infused olive oil. Gourmet ingredients and prepared foods abound on the Web. While a comprehensive discourse on the sourcing of foodstuffs is beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that Web search engines yield a plethora of manufacturers/producers, distributors, and retailers of gourmet ingredients. Searching for foie gras locates the nationally acclaimed D'Artagnan [http://www.dartagnan.com] and other U.S. and international suppliers. While at D'Artagnan, you might want to order a few "French Kisses" -- after all it is New Year's Eve. These sinful morsels are prunes marinated in Armagnac and stuffed with foie gras mousse. Your menu might require a fresh seafood supplier. Many reside on the Web. Seafood can be ordered from the companies that catch it, such as lobsters from The Lobster Net [http://www.thelobsternet.com] in South Carolina. However, you can also order seafood from a distributor or retailer such as Fisher Seafood Company [http://www.fisherseafood.com]. Whether you search for fish, beef, or popcorn, bookmark the Food Web [http://www.foodweb.com], a cornucopia of links to great producers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers of food products and gourmet ingredients....If you worry about the lights failing after midnight, you might even order a supply of Millennium Candies from http://www.giftstory2k.com...."Dinner Is Served!" The person to my right marvels that Sammy seemed not to spend any time in his kitchen for final preparations. How could that be? We have each received a Millennium Menu Card describing the meal, with three choices for the main course. The Amuse Bouches arrives -- a fried potato trellis about the size of clam shell, topped with a refreshing Ahi Tuna [http://www.fisherseafood.com] ceviche and a drizzle of white truffle oil [http://www.deananddeluca.com/dd/truffoie.html]. Appetizers continue the elegance. The vegetarians among us are offered a vegetable pate [http://www.michelsmagnifique.com] served on a bed of greens and topped with a soupcon of jalapeno compote. I choose the foie gras [http://www.dartagnan.com] served in three layers, separated by thin slices of fresh plum [http://www.harryanddavid.com]. To cleanse our palates, Sammy serves a demitasse of raspberry sorbet, prepared in his Cuisinart Ice-Cream Maker [http://www.kitchen-classics.com/icecream.htm]. The main course arrives. The guest seated next to me has chosen the Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops with Saffron Risotto and Lemon-Tarragon Broth [http://www.cookexpress.com]. In keeping with the exquisite decadence of our millennium celebration, I have selected roast duck [http://www.balducci.com/poultry_page.htm1] with a sun-dried cherry and port wine sauce. The duck is cooked to perfection. For the vegetarians, Sammy has a pumpkin risotto with walnuts and shaved truffle [http://www.auxdelices.com/bois.htm] added at the table. The dinner wines pair perfectly with our food. I am having a 1992 Duckhorn Merlot [http://www.lbw.Com] with my main course. The foodies among us recognize Balducci's as a high-quality New York city marketer selling fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and prepared food. Our host ordered the Roast Duck with Cherry Port Sauce from http://www.balducci.com, completing final preparations at home. To assure the reception of high-quality truffles (worthy of their high price), Sammy wisely ordered them online from http://www.auxdelices.com/bois.htm, where only the best of the best mushrooms and truffles are sold. Now we can choose a cheese course [http://www.igourmet.com] or a light Valrhona chocolate [http://www.gourmetmarketplace.com] mousse with ginger cream. Coffee, cappuccino, and espresso round out the meal...Now 11:30 PM and Sammy passes around a large tray of Beluga caviar [http://www.Carviarteria.com], accompanied by mother-of-pearl serving spoons. I prepare my cracker with a sliver of red onion and a tad of sour cream before adding the caviar. So succulent and sensual -- how wonderful to gird our loins for the millennium with such decadent fare. This is a New Year's Eve, the like of which none of us will ever see again. Our host makes a brief announcement to thank us for coming and prepares the champagne to toast away the last thousand years and look forward to the next thousand. Bottles of exquisite Tattinger Comtes de Champagne [http://www.lbw.com] lie on ice. At five minutes to midnight, we uncork the bottles in anticipation. Glasses rise in the air. As the clock strikes twelve, hugs, handshakes, kisses, and New Year's wishes accompany the champagne along with more caviar...The festivities wind down and we prepare to head home. Whether the cars and the traffic lights still work, we won't know until the clocks strike twelve on the Millennium Night."
    ---"A Millennium New Year's Feast - Internet-Style.(Internet/Web/Online Service Information)," Randall Marcinko, Searcher, November 1, 1999 (p. 36)

    Chinese New Year food traditions
    "Calculated on a lunar calendar, it is New Year's that evokes the greatest celebrations in Chinese life. Celebrated on the first day of the first month with dragon-led parades, incense and fireworks and banners of red everywhere (signifying good luck), New Year's is traditionally usred in by family feasting...New Year's is celebrated for the first fifteen days of the new year, especially for agrarian families who take this period as the opportunity for an annual rest as well as for visiting, feasting, and wearing new clothes...In ancient times during the New Year's period, palace dignitaries were presented with purses embroidered with eight Buddhist symbols called "Eight Treasures," which they proudly hung on their chests. In more recent times this is recalled by the serving of a fruit-fuilled rice pudding called Eight Treasures rice pudding. Customary too at this time is the setting around the room small bowls of lichees and longans, platters of steamed rice cakes and jujubes (red for luck), and salted seeds. During the festive dinner itself, red sweet-and-sour sauce is sure to be part of at least one dish, be it pork or fish. This is also the time to give the "Kitchen God" some sticky sweets so he won't give a bad report on the family."
    ---You Eat What You Are: People, Culture and Food Traditions, Thelma Barer-Stein [Firefly Books:Ontario] 1999(p. 100)

    "Why do so many Chinese regard New Year celebrations with such delight? We think it is due to a combination of circumstances, among which food is very important. Besides good food there are many other ingredients: (1) a real sense of family togetherness and of the good life, (2) holidays (plenty of rest and fun), (3) new clothes, (4) ritual fanfare to ancestral spirits, and (5) general festivity. During this celebration, food is not important for the living alone: a large part of the ritual fanfare to ancestral spirits consists of fancy food and drink (tea and alcohol) offerings...For weeks before the New Year, women in every northern Chinese home are busy making meat dumplings called chiao tzu. These consists of a filling of chopped pork and cabbage, salt, ginger, scallions, and ground white and black pepper, wrapped in a thin skin of dough. In a large household the number of dumplings may run into the thousands...But pork and cabbage dumpling...are only part of the New year fare. many northern Chinese households make wine, bean curd, and sausages and slaughter a pig or two for home consumption...For days before New Year's Eve, regular stores in towns and cities are supplemented by temporary markets with hundreds of trading stands...When the shopping is done, the celebration begins with New Year's Eve dinner. This dinner begins in late afternoon (five o'clock) and is usually sumptuous. Even among the relatively poor, it would include four to six big bowls...featuring vegetables (chiefly cabbage, turnips, and dried musrhooms), chicken, fish, mussels, and especially pork. For the better-off families, there would definitely be eight big bowls...preceded by four or six cold plates and followed by one or two "big items"...In the cold plates are pickles, sliced cold meat, pigs'-feet jelly, roasted peanuts, thin-sliced jellyfish skin in vinegar and soy sauce, sugar-preserved green apricots or kumquats, or salted dried shrimp with peas, and so on. In the eight big bowls are...also such delicacies as sea cucumbers, sharks' fins, birds' nests, pork sausages, ham, giant pork meatballs...termed 'lions' heads', with cabbage, and fresh and dried shrimp. One of the big items usually is 'eight precious rice,' a sweet production of sticky rice mixed with eight other ingredients including lotus seeds, almond seeds, sliced red dates, several kinds of candied fruits, sweet bean paste, and brown-sugar syrup. In addition, there is usually a fancy,s weet soup, such as that made with white tree ears (a kind of edible fungus) and crystal sugar, which comes after the other dishes. White rice and wine or spirits are served with the entire meal...This feast is the opener. Beginning with New Year's Day, quite a few other sumptuous meals for members of each household and for visiting relatives and friends follow. Snacks in the form of watermelon seeds, sesame candy and other sweets, roasted peanuts, fruits such as pears and oranges, and cakes are available at all times. Visitors are served tea, watermelon seeds, and sweets as soon as they sit down...At this time...each child, up to the age of fifteen, is given a candle in the shape of his or her own birth animal made of mung-bean dough filled with candle wax and a wick."
    ---Food in Chinese Culture, K.C. Chang editor [Yale University Press:New Haven CT] 1977 (p. 297-299)

    "One period when food is offered to the Kitchen God is that of the Chinese New Year. Several days before that date, the Kitchen God is given a farewell dinner, by only of sweets, such as sweet rice, cake, and candied fruit. In addition, his lips are sealed with sticky sweets, such as honey, molasses, or sugar candy, in the further hope that he will say only sweet things when he visits Yu Huang...the "Jade Emperor" or supreme Taoist god, to give his annual accounting of family affairs. Then the represenation of the Kitchen God is removed and burned, along with spirit-money and other things to use on his journey, and he is sent on his way, accompanied by the sound of firecrackers. A new representative of the Kitchen God is set up several days later, on New Year's Eve, when his return is celebrated with firecrackers and he shares food and other offerings with the family ancestral spirits and other deities, and once again presides over the family hearth."
    ---Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry, Frederick J. Simoons [CRC Press:Boca Raton FL] 1991(p. 27-28)

    "Traditions vary from region to region in China and, as in the United States, from family to family. The Wang family traditionally eats a huge noon meal on the day before Chinese New Year. Because Chinese believe even numbers are lucky, there will be an even number of dishes, usually 12, with four cold dishes and eight hot ones. Some of the family favorites include cold sausage, cooked pork skin, peanuts and a salad made of finely shredded cucumber and vermicelli. The hot dishes will include different vegetables stir- fried with pork, mutton stir-fried with green onions (scallions) and a fish dish. Because the Chinese word for fish is a homonym for "plenty," no family will celebrate the holiday without a fish dish. There is always much more food on the table than the Wangs can eat, but the idea is to have a large spread to signify the hoped-for abundance in the coming year. In northern China, the most important meal is the fresh dumpling dinner at midnight. After setting off firecrackers to scare away evil spirits, the family will throw open their front door to welcome in the God of Wealth. Wang's father and mother, as the senior members of the family, will then pass out "red packets," of money to their grandchildren. Only then will the Wangs sit down to bowls of rice piled high with jiao zhi, or boiled meat-and-vegetable-filled dumplings. The dumplings are supposed to represent prosperity and riches because they are the same shape as yuan bao, a gold or silver ingot that was used as money in ancient China. Their rounded shape also represents unity, and eating them symbolizes the reunion of the family. Inside one of the dumplings will be a coin. "Whoever eats that dumpling will be blessed with special good fortune in the new year," said Wang. But just as fortunate are the cooks in the family: The days before the festival are spent in front of the chopping board and the stove because one of the important traditions surrounding this ancient festival is that no one is supposed to cook during the first several days of the new year."
    ---"Foods Fill With Meaning at the Chinese New Year," Lena H. Sun, The Washington Post, January 20, 1993 (p. E15)

    "Chinese New Year,"/Flavor & Fortune Magazine (family traditions)


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    1 January 2014