The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
Ringing in the New Year with Corn and Luck
There are a lot of foods that history will tell you that you are supposed to eat coming into a New Year for health, luck, happiness, wealth and pleasure. Some are based on old wives tales, some are based on popular name brand food recipes, while others are religious traditions, family memories passed down for generations or just recipes that have somehow found their way to be remembered with each passing year. Black eyed peas, leafy greens and cornbread is a popular dish in the south to bring about good fortune for the New Year. People believe that eating this meal will bring fortune because of the “peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for the gold”. Another popular dish for New Years is cabbage, or anything green for that matter. Some people think that eating something the color green, will bring in luck in the form of money, in the coming year. I remember my Grandma Barbra and my Grandma Deloris always having cabbage on New Year’s Day, but they would cook a penny in with their cabbage. Another New Year’s tradition passed down from their own mothers and grandmothers.
There are, like most things, unlucky things to eat, according to some, when it comes to New Year’s foods. Anything white should be avoided. Rice, sugar, flour, breads and eggs should all be avoided, according to Western culture because white symbolizes death. There is also a superstition that says to avoid doing the wash on New Year’s Day because if you do, a family member will be “washed away” in the coming year but that is another story. Speaking of superstitions, there are quite a few, such as not eating lobster on New Year’s Eve because since lobsters walk backwards, eating them will cause a person to backtrack in life if eaten. There is also the belief that sharing a meal with someone on New Year’s Eve is bad luck too. Sharing a meal with someone will symbolize your wealth being cut or split into two. I, personally, think it is interesting to learn about traditions of all kinds for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.Looking back, I really have not followed any of them, aside from the eating of cabbage on New Year’s Day, which usually consists of myself eating egg rolls. The recipe I am sharing here today may become a new tradition for you and your family for New Year’s and that is corn griddle cakes. Corn is lucky to eat on New Year’s Day because it symbolizes gold. The more kernels of corn you add to the griddle cakes, the more gold and wealth you will receive in the coming year. Hope you all have a happy and healthy New Year, no matter your food traditions.
Corn Griddle Cakes
You can add diced bell pepper, onion or scallion to these for a delicious flavor profile.
1 can corn, drained
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl combine the drained corn, white all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, large egg, whole milk and melted butter.
Warm a large skillet over medium high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Dollop large tablespoon amounts of batter onto preheated and prepared skillet leaving about 3 inches between each.
Once the cakes start to bubble, carefully flip them over with a spatula and cook another minute or two depending on desired doneness.
Work in batches.
Serve warm with extra butter and maple syrup.
Ask and Answer: A special congratulations and shoutout to my friend, Cheryl Day, who just published her third cookbook, “Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking”! I received the book for Christmas and will be baking my way through the entirety of it. Fabulous, southern recipes by “Back in the Day Bakery” owner and genius, this cookbook is one to be featured! Cheryl is one of the kindest, most authentic people I have the pleasure of knowing. If you are interested in southern baking, history and authentic recipes, pick up Cheryl’s newest cookbook!