Something's fishy this New Year's Eve
Do you have a New Year’s Eve tradition? Something you have to do when you ring in the new year that you believe will bring good luck or good fortune? Most great holidays like New Year’s Eve come with their fair share of food related traditions and most of these traditions involve luck, or promises of wealth for the New Year. People all around the world eat a variety of traditional foods from grapes, to lentils, to smoked fish at the stroke of midnight. Did you know that people eat lentils because they recall the shape of ancient currency? Fish have also been linked to prosperity or wealth with their scales round and abundant like money, not to mention the fact that they are constantly moving forward, which is a sign of positive momentum for the New Year. There is also a German tradition of eating fish for the New Year’s Eve dinner, and keeping a fish scale from a carp in your wallet all year to ensure wealth for the whole family. To each his own but I could imagine that one gets a bit stinky!
Growing up, my family’s tradition on New Year’s Eve consisted of eating smoked herring at the stroke of midnight based on my mother’s insistence. My mother grew up in a largely Polish and Slavic neighborhood on the South side of Chicago. Smoked herring is their traditional new years eve food. She was so superstitious about this that she insisted, if we weren’t celebrating with her, that we carry herring with us in a ziplock baggie to eat at the stroke of midnight. I have to admit I have done just this every year since I can remember, as I was scared of the consequence of not eating my herring at midnight. Sadly, I am not the biggest fan of herring, especially when eaten out of a baggie. So this year, I thought I’d start my own smoked-fish-tradition by incorporating the delicious Hansen & Lyderson smoked salmon for my New Year’s celebrations. A slight bit of fine tuning of my Mom’s fine tradition.
I first came across these awesome fish sellers in the Slow Food Market at the Rosewood hotel in London. The family owned business has been smoking fish in the traditional Norwegian fashion since 1923, and just recently made its way to London. Not only has Hansen & Lyndersen been owned and operated by the Lyndersen family for four generations, but they have a strong commitment to sustainable practices, sourcing only responsibly caught salmon, and using 100% wood chips in their brick kilns to cold-smoke each fish. They never ever use plastic. Hurrah! Instead, this stylishly paper-wrapped smoked salmon, which is rich in color and vertically cut for the richest taste, stays fresh in the fridge for up to ten days. It tastes amazing.
So this year at the stroke of midnight we will be clinking champagne glasses, wishing each other well, and taking a cue from my mother with the smoked fish tradition to promote happiness, wellness and prosperity to all our loved ones! I hope you enjoy whatever traditions you have, whether they are new or old, with your loved ones this holiday. Happy New Year to all of you!