for new years eve we went to a lovely dinner at a friend from work's and then over to Toni's because Kit was visiting and it was also her birthday. Toni's house is frigid, so we spent most of the evening cuddled on the couch under blankets and talked in fake guido accents and I had a champagne-induced "hour-long" monologue about pizza (I have a lot of opinions about pizza) including RULE #1, which is: Even crappy pizza is still pretty good. This is a rule we have to use a lot (maybe why it is #1) as Seattle has pretty crappy pizza as far as I can tell (it's still good). Anyways, I don't want to type for "an hour" so I guess I should talk about pizza some other time. In any case, New years eve, nice, not particularly exciting. I refused to leave the warm comfort of Toni's couch and blankets and so we slept over. Also, I was ready to crash. Staying up until midnight on the west coast is an uphill battle when you are still on an eastern sleep schedule. I was pretty much like, "yay, 2011, zzzzzzzzzzzzz..." so much for being young and whatnot.
Anyways, in the morning we, joined by Angie, another volunteer friend of Toni's, Toni's college friend Laura, and Laura's high school friend, Graff, went to Dim Sum in the international district. Dim Sum is a chinese brunch tradition in which you sit and at your table and the servers come around with carts of all kinds of things and you just pick stuff and they give it to you and mark down what you got on your card. Most of the dishes are like 3 dumplings, buns filled with various things, and other small dishes. Nathan and I were sitting on the outside of the table, which was kind of a mistake because we had never done dim sum and had no idea what anything was, and it is a highly disorganized event because no one knows who wants what, and the server is like, "Do you want egg roll? Do you want 'something in chinese'?" and I'm like, "I don't know what that is, sure?" Anyways, it was lots of fun and next time we will be better prepared.
After dim sum there was a performance in the street:
ANd here is everyone with Buddha!
That evening Toni, Kit, Wylin (a friend I met through Toni) , and Michael, Wylin's boyfriend, came over to our place for a New Years Day dinner. Now, I had never thought of new years day as a real holiday because as far as I knew it didn't have any traditions other than maybe a lot of people being hung over. Toni, however told us that traditionally in the South (she's from NC) that Hoppin' John and collard greens are eaten on New Years day for good luck! Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
Throughout the coastal South, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck,. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens,turnip greens, chard, kale etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money. On the day after New Year's Day, leftover "Hoppin' John" is called "Skippin' Jenny," and further demonstrates one's frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year. During the late Middle Ages, there was a tradition of eating beans on New Year's Day for good luck in parts of France and Spain. The European tradition mixed with an African food item to become a New World tradition.
One tradition common in the Southern USA is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to assure that the New Year will be filled with Luck, Fortune and Romance.
Here is Toni's recipe for Hoppin' John. I think it is originally made with bacon, but Toni's vegetarian.
-2 cups soaked black eyed peas
-2 cups cooked white rice
-1 cup diced tomato
-1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste), black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a pot and heat. Top with grated cheese.
She also made collard greens and cornbread, and Nathan made pulled pork and bbq sauce:
Yum! We all left three beans on our plate and I ate the "skippin' jenny' for breakfast this morning. Huzzah for new traditions!