Many cultures have foods that are traditionally consumed at the start of a New Year – ones thought to bring about good health, progress, prosperity and good luck. The long strings of sauerkraut are considered to represent a long life, as are long noodles. Ring-shaped foods represent wholeness. Beans, legumes and lentils are thought to resemble coins and therefore eating them for New Year’s predicts prosperity for the coming year. Eating pork is also considered good fortune.
If there are any truths to these beliefs, then this soup is the soup to eat on New Year’s. Filled with smoked pork, lentils and spinach, it’s a warm, cozy, comforting dish sure to bring lots of luck and prosperity. And if it doesn’t, it is a healthy, high-fibre alternative to the rich extravagances of the holiday season.
Every New Year’s Day, I put a pot of this together in the morning and it simmers away on the stove, ready to eat, all day. It warms the house, smells divine and feeds us well. This year, it wasn’t just G and I that enjoyed the soup. The girls gobbled it up — even Emma, who has often expressed her distaste for lentils. It’s perfect for New Year’s as well as any cold winter day warranting a pick-me-up. Sounds like an ideal prosperous start to the New Year indeed.