As you know, I have been sharing various Pennsylvania German traditions lately. They've all been things I love about my culture and background. Today I will share something that I find truly revolting. This is a tradition I am glad to say my mother never tormented me with when I was growing up, but I have endured under other people. Times when I have spoken out against it I have incurred the wrath of angry dutchmen, had my character questioned, and been told I clearly am lacking in appreciation for my upbringing. I've been viewed with not a small amount of contempt. In my humble opinion I will gladly bear the burden as I continue to campaign against so horrific a tradition as this.
By now you must be wondering what atrocity I may be about to introduce you. Be warned, it is not for those with a weak constitution. Only those with the strongest stomachs and a taste for utter vileness could begin to endure it. It is the New Year's Day meal..........
Pork and Sauerkraut.
Excuse me while I take a minute to regain my composure. Even typing the words made me feel queasy. *Shudders*
Now I can appreciate that in the dark days of winter centuries ago sauerkraut was the main source of vitamin C and other important nutrients. It kept my ancestors from developing scurvy and other unpleasant deficiencies. May I just give a whoop and a holler and an Hallelujah for fresh citrus fruits and multivitamins in this day and age? Sorry, I simply find sauerkraut to be an entirely horrendous thing to eat. The smell alone makes me nauseous. Growing up in PA dutch country the school served this swill once a week. It was torment because that stench wafted through the entire school and the closer I got to the cafeteria the more pungent the smell was and the more I began to struggle to control my gag reflex.
Mr. Lime's mother grew up in a PA Dutch area and would not consider forgoing this traditional meal on New Year's Day for fear of tempting the fates to curse her with bad luck, not to mention she actually likes the stuff. There is no accounting for taste in some people. Fortunately for me, although Mr. Lime grew up eating it and actually likes the taste, his more delicate gastrointestinal makeup does not find Pork and Sauerkraut a particularly agreeable combination. He can eat one or the other, but not the two in combination.
His mother reeled in shock and horror during our first New Year's together. She asked if anyone was opposed to the traditional New Year's Fare. Being the naive bride I was, I assumed asking for my opinion meant a truthful answer was actually desired. I quickly, though respectfully, expressed my fervent desire not to be subjected to the putrescence that is a PA Dutch New Year's Day meal. After the flames from her eyes stopped burning through my chest I steadied myself and added that her son, though he enjoyed the food, preferred not spending all of January 2 feeling like his innards were being torn inside out. Such impertinence! The flamethrowers were turned to 'incinerate.' I was directed to provide the family with alternate eats and prepared a somewhat crunchy lasagna as the recipe I had for lasagna that required no precooking of noodles did not turn out quite as well as it had every other time. It must have been the start of bad luck that I brought on us for all of the year by avoiding the ritual of rotted cabbage. No matter, I defiantly waived a forkful of firmer than al dente pasta heavenward.
Over the years I have tried traditional New Year's food from other places. We had two different Taiwanese students live with us and they treated us to a lovely sort of noodle soup in which the trick was to see who found the longest noodle in his or her bowl to determine who would have the best luck of the year. In Trinidad the tradition is to have fish broth either on Old Year's Night (it's not called New Year's eve there) or New Year's Day. That was tasty enough but I wasn't too crazy about fish heads floating in my soup bowl.
I understand different parts of the USA have different traditional foods too. I have no doubt many countries have different foods too. Share with me your menu for good luck in the new year. I'm looking for an alternative. Let me know especially if chocolate is involved. In the meantime, the Lime family will be pushing our luck and having stuffed shells this year.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you.