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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Mew Year!

Are you ready for New Year's?  I don't mean champagne and noisemakers, handy things though they are, but the stuff to make for a lucky new year.  (Note:  the noisemakers are very useful in scaring off bad fortune, but you have to be sure and be very loud at midnight on New Year's Eve to achieve results.  If you are too loud and the neighbors object, you may find you have actually summoned ill-fortune-- unless the police officer who comes calling is a dark haired man.  But that's a whole 'nother set of superstitions.  We'll get to them later.)

The traditional lucky foods for this area are black-eyed peas, cabbage and hog jowls.  I tend to do a bit of substitution. Black-eyed peas aren't my favorites, so I just add some to a bean soup and use fatback instead of jowls.  I throw in a few carrots, since they're considered lucky in some places, add the cabbage and make cornbread.  Yum! In some places, other greens such as collards take the place of cabbage.

Of course, the next question is, "WHY these things?" Symbolism. Pork has long been a sign of good eating-- "high off the hog" as it were. Some say that because pigs root in a forward motion, it means you will gain in the new year.  Eating chicken is said to be unlucky, because chickens scratch in a backward motion. (I think the chickens have been taking psychology notes from the Chik-Fil-A cows.)  Beans are considered lucky in many places, because they look a bit like coins. Blackeyed peas are usually the bean of choice for the American South, though the form may vary a bit.  (In Louisiana, they're the main ingredient in "hoppin' john,' along with rice and pork.  Other ingredients may vary.) Carrots cut into rounds also look like coins, and cabbage is said to look like paper money.  "Cabbage" was a slang word for money at one time.

Remember the dark haired man?  In Scotland and a few other places, the first person to cross the thresh hold in the new year foretells the future of the household. This is called "First Footing."  The best person is a good looking dark haired man, preferably one bearing gifts. (That would seem to be a no-brainer.) A fair-haired woman isn't a good omen. Some folks have been known to stage a first footing by having aforementioned dark haired man stationed outside the house so he can enter just after midnight, thus assuring good luck.

There are a host of other superstitions.  One of my favorite sites has a good list; just click here:

And if you don't read this until after New Year's and do everything wrong, then just wait until February 3 and you can try to set things right.  That's the date of the lunar New Year for 2011 as celebrated in many countries, including China, Japan and Korea.  It's the Year of the Rabbit-- or, in some places, the Cat.  Guess which version I like better!

Melon:  Party Animal.

Happy Mew Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

If I have to wear a bib...

There had better be food forthcoming.

The Mom is turning that awful noisy vacuum thing on.  It's very annoying.  She's stirring up dust, too, and muttering something about a pig sty.  I hope that means we're going to have porkchops.

After all, I've already got a bib.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas...

Can we deck the halls with tuna fish and chicken instead?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Time's A-Comin'

Melon is still recovering from his traumatic time at the vet's, where he only had two meals a day. He will no doubt be thrilled tomorrow when he goes back for a recheck.  That reminds me, I really must find my earmuffs before we set out.  Melon is, shall we say, a chatty soul at the best of times but rides in the car take his conversation to a whole 'nother level, both in frequency and volume.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get packages wrapped for Christmas and the usual Christmas letter ready to go. My creativity has taken a nosedive.  I really don't have much in the way of ideas this year.  I'm snapping pictures of the cats, hoping inspiration will strike.  The cats are being their usual cooperative selves.  (See above.)