There are several New Years Eve traditions in our German heritage
that are worth noting.
Why is Pork and Sauerkraut
a New Years Eve Tradition?
mit Sauerkraut, Himmel und Erde
Smoked Pork Loin Roast with
Sauerkraut and potato and apple mash
Linsensuppe mit Frankfurter
Carp with in special sauce with boiled
There are several themes that are traditions of New Year's Day food in Germany,
Greens; that symbolize folded money, Legumes; Some like lentils are shaped like coins,
Pork; because the snout always pushes forward
unlike chickens that scratch backward.
Cakes have always been a lucky food particularly round cakes as it symbolizes making it full circle to the next year.
and animals since ancient times. A couple favorite New Years Eve or New Years Day foods that feature both Pork and greens are Pork with sauerkraut, and Greunkohl mit Pinkel which is a special sausage popular in Northern Germany called pinkelwurst, that is simmered with kale and bacon slices.
Karpfen Blau is a dish that is popular on New Years Eve. The Carp like the pig is a symbol of good fortune in places in Germany. It is a hard to find fish so maybe that is one reason. There is a tradition to keep a few of the scales in your wallet for the year to insure plenty of money will fill it.
This dish is most interesting because the addition of vinegar to the sauce
turns the fish blue.
It is customary in some places in Germany to put some of the scales of the
Carp in your wallet to bring good luck.
Herring Salad, An Age Old New Years Eve tradition.
I know a lot of folks turn up their
nose at Pickled Herring ...!
including my family, and my dad and most of his family.
If you have been following the newsletter for some time you will find eating Herring Salat or Herring salad was a tradition .
In fact you must eat it at the stroke of midnight to insure good luck for the New Year.
In the technology and scientific age these superstitions seem childish. I guess we would have to live back in those times to understand what the world was like for our fore fathers, mothers and other relatives before the internet ..
Herring was such an important food for several reasons.
It was abundant in the coastal areas traveling in schools of millions so your catch could be abundant.
Not only Germany but so much of the world depended on salted fish...Cod, Anchovies and Herring for it's survival.
Cape Cod in Massachusetts gets it's name because it was a good place to Cod fish which was so important back then.
It was also was good to have on Fridays where not by choice but in many areas legally you couldn't eat meat so the salted fish was very important. You could be jailed if you were caught eating meat.
The Herring which feed on little tiny plankton can sense good feeding areas a thousand miles away. So one day ....all the sudden the herring would be gone! They wouldn't return sometimes for years.
Centuries ago it was blamed on the sins of the people, like too much adultery etc.
Pickling or more accurately"Salting" for centuries was the only way to preserve any food.
These Herring were cleaned and put in barrels with layers of salt and you could be sure and have food for the winter. There were no freezers except natural ones back then.
So if you are looking for something to celebrate your heritage with
try making this salad. If you are squeamish about the herring, then use another kind of fish, like a salmon or cod.
I know some of my German friends would think this sacrilege
but to the un-initiated herring can be very fishy and can prejudice us for a lifetime.
I have had friends like Don Wall, that do their own salting and pickling of Herring and the recipe is a family secret. They know how to keep the fishiness out of it.
Taming the Fishiness in Herring
One thing you learn as a chef is to balance flavors.
Liver is one of my least favorite foods ....by itself. But when mixed and tamed with other flavors it is one of my favorite. Blend with pork and spices and Braunschweiger is a delicacy. It wouldn't be any good WITHOUT the liver ....
Is something too salty? Blend it with a tart flavor and a sweet flavor and
you now have a robust balanced flavor!
The strong fishy flavor of anchovy paste can be used to boost flavors of salads and sauces and you would never know it is there. I use a good quality vinegar and some sugar to counter balance the flavor of the fishiness. It is many chefs secret ingredient ...
The potatoes, pickles and beets also give texture and flavor to counter balance the strong taste of the fish.
Anette Holmes told me as a child in Germany she loved the flavors of her mom's Herring salat , especially the flavors of the sauce, the pickles and apples. and ..........lots and lots of good sour cream.
Sour cream really smoothes out the flavors of this
Lentils have been considered lucky for New Years Eve or New Years Day
most likely because of the shape of the lentil is like a small coin.
If you eat the lentils you will have plenty of "pocket change" for the new year.
I would love to be a part of your Christmas with our Gift Wrapped Cookbook that includes or Special GoodiesPackage seen above, (Bonus Recipes CD, postcards, vanilla beans and vanilla sugar),
Let me personalize it by signing it to you or someone special.
We send it out 2 day priority mail !
same day you order to get there for before Christmas.
There is still time, I get it out the same or next day!
One of our readers, Irene Lage sent me this info about a German tradition she wanted to share,
Dinner for One
German New Years Eve
Germans encounter similar misgivings by members of other cultures about their unflappable enthusiasm for the short film "Dinner for One". The 14-minute British stage sketch is shown over and over again on every German TV channel on New Year's Eve. "The same procedure as every year, James" became a familiar catchphrase in the German-speaking world since it was first broadcast in 1963