In the household where I grew up, New Year’s Eve meant pork and sauerkraut, and New Year’s Day meant black-eyed peas, collard greens, and fried cornbread with a penny in it. You see, both of these meals are meant to bring good luck, and we liked to stack the deck as much as possible. The pig is an animal that roots forward, always looking for the next, tastiest morsel, which is how we should aim to approach the year ahead: moving forward, never back. Sauerkraut, to my knowledge, isn’t symbolic, it just tastes good with pork. Also, cabbage keeps like crazy and since this custom was originated by German immigrants and the Pennsylvania Dutch, they may well have been eating cabbage with everything. Black-eyed peas and collard greens represent all the cold, hard cash that we’re going to acquire in the coming year. And the cornbread with a penny in it? Probably because there’s nothing like intentionally placing a choking hazard in your food to inspire gratitude that we’ve survived another year.
- Pastured Pork Heritage breeds and pastured pigs tends to have more fat and waaaay more flavor than their industrial counterparts, and man oh man, there are so many delicious ways to enjoy them in this city. Pick-up thick cut Country Time Farm chops or smoked ham hocks (perfect in a pot of greens) or Stryker Farm beer brats or scrapple at the Fair Food Farmstand. Look at Green Aisle Grocery for Wyebrook Farm’s rich, red Ossabaw pork, or make plant to drive out to Honeybrook, PA, to shop at their market or enjoy one of their awesome Friday pork-centric suppers.
- Dried Beans Love or hate them, we should all probably resolve to eat more of the magical fruit this year. They’re inexpensive, they’re super high in fiber, and they’re dense, non-animal protein. Plus, cooked with a few aromatics they make for an easy, warm soup, or the basis of some homemade hummus. The Fair Food Farmstand stocks beans from Cayuga Pure Organics up near Ithaca, New York, and Margerum's Herbs at the Clark Park Farmer’s Market has a great selection in every color (including black-eyed peas) along with dried chilies and herbs to flavor them with.
- Sauerkraut & Cabbage Cobblestone Krautery has Philly-ized lacto-fermented kraut. West Philly Powerkraut has dulse seaweed, celery seed, and leek, whereas South Philly Jungle Kraut pairs green and red cabbage with carrot, hot peppers, and ginger. Keep it classic with caraway-studded Kensington Garlikraut or Germantown Sourkraut. Eden’s Garden at the Clark Park farmer’s market has cabbage if you’d like to try fermenting your own.
- Collard Greens Kale may be the darling of those juicing their way to health in the new year, but collards are just as much of a nutritional powerhouse. Plus, they’re even more cold-tolerant than kale or chard, which means that we’ll be seeing more of them - The Livengood Family Farm has them for sale at Clark Park - as their tender-hearted compatriots give up the ghost. Though collard greens can grow to prehistoric sizes in the warmer months, they tend to be more compact as they grow more slowly and they’re at their most delicious once they’ve been subjected to colder weather.
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