The Prompt: What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.
When I was young, my grandparents would invite my family over to celebrate New Year’s Day. They would prepare a semi-ethnic feast: pork (and hot dogs) and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, green peas (???) and New Years pretzel. I suspect the green peas were the acceptable substitute for black-eyed peas for my very fussy father and grandfather. Heck, at this point in time, I still labored under the illusion that our family was Irish.
I really like this tradition because the food was yummy and it was simple. No presents, the decorations were still up in their apartment. They watched football which meant that I read in a corner or on my grandma’s bed. It was a nice festive way to ease out of the holidays.
I began to make pork and sauerkraut in my own travels. Once when a broken down car stranded me in San Antonio for the holidays, my hosts made it for me to make me feel better. I made it when I lived in Kentucky and then again when I moved back to Pittsburgh. The secret is to marinate the sauerkraut in beer. I convinced a skeptical Ledcat to try it and she admitted it was good.
Six Penn Kitchen has a great pork and sauerkraut meal. Sometimes on New Years Eve, we’ll dine there and then enjoy First Night festivities. I”m not such a fan of the food at actual German restaurants because it is simply too bitter and sour for my taste.
New Years Day also holds such promise. Make a wish, make a resolution, make a vow. Make a plan. It is about renewal and hope and clean slates.
Plus, New Year’s Pretzel? Yum!