2013 is almost here. It’s a time for new beginnings, fresh starts, resolutions, football and, of course, New Year’s dinner.

While doing some research about menu items for New Year’s Day I found different cultures have some interesting New Year’s culinary traditions.

Netherlands: Anything in the shape of a ring is considered good luck because it symbolizes coming full circle, completing a year’s cycle.

American South: Black-eyed peas.  There’s a saying that, if you eat peas on New Year’s Day, you’ll have plenty of everything the rest of the year.

Germany: Pork  served with sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, which is considered another lucky dish, because the leaves are said to represent paper money.

Brazil and Italy: Lentils and pork. Bowls of little coin-shaped lentils will be served up to signify wealth. To make the dish even better, chunks of pork sausage are added.

Greece: St. Basil’s Cake is served with a gold or silver coin inside. The first slice is for St. Basil (New Year’s Day coincides with St. Basil’s Day, which is named for one of the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church), the second slice is for the house and the next slices go to the most senior resident down to the youngest. The one who finds the coin will be blessed with good fortune in the coming year.

Vietnam: Watermelon. Watermelon is a sign of luck because of its red flesh. People even dye the seeds red and serve them as delicacies.

Japan; Red snapper and soba noodles. Red (or pink) is also considered a lucky color in Japan, where red snapper is served up, as well as long soba noodles. The belief is if you can suck up one noodle completely without it breaking, you will have a long life.

Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Cuba: Grapes. It’s tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. According to the legend, Spain enjoyed a gigantic grape harvest at the turn of the 20th Century. The Spaniards considered that a huge stroke of luck, so a dozen grapes from a bunch are eaten in celebration and to ensure another 12 months of happiness.

My family celebrates the New Year with pork and sauerkraut. Here’s my recipe for a mouth watering New Years meal:

Mix Caraway Seeds, Bavarian Seasoning and Chopped Juniper Berries into sauerkraut.  Put bratwurst in bottom of pan, top with kraut.  Place slab of pork spare ribs on top of kraut/bratwurst, season with Freedom Ridge Salt and pepper.  Cover and slow roast at 200 degrees for approximately 8 hours.  Baste spare ribs with juices at bottom of pan every few hours.  Serve with mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Thank you for helping make 2012 an amazing year for North Market Spices. Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year!