For the last month, numerous visitors have ended up reading stuff here about festival food for New Year (春節 'chuen jit
'), much of which was written a while back. New Year is coming up in a few days (February 8 in 2016), and remarkably, that's one day after the Superbowl, which this blogger will NOT be celebrating.
Other things I shall not be doing at all (which you probably shouldn't either) include not only any dealing with all the screaming yutzes cheering on their football team -- strictly to be avoided, especially here in San Francisco, where city government has welcomed the imminent arrival of multitudes of such nasty creatures at tax payer expense -- but also consuming certain foods which are just not considered lucky during the two weeks following the beginning of the year.
No, I'm not superstitious. But why go against tradition?
There is no benefit to snarfing those leftovers.
Throw out those buffalo wings.
And the bean dip.
Sorry, just imagining what your house must look like after the forty drunken sportsfans have left. Half empty bags of potato chips, huge platters of rancid and overly greasy chicken parts, rumaki, ribs, and eggrolls purchased from Panda-Monium, strange spicy dipping slurries, greyish guacamole, and your elderly aunt Agatha asleep in the easy chair with her hair in disarray and a slice of pizza on her bosoms. Plus empty beer cans everywhere,
and food stains in the drapes. You sportsfans are weird.
NEW YEAR FESTIVAL FOOD
For your information, these are the Chinese New Year food posts mentioned above: Dried oysters and black hair moss (好事發財
'ho si faat choi
'), sea cucumber (海參
'), pork knuckle and sea cucumber (海參燜豬手
'hoi sam mun ju sau
'), Singaporean New Year fish salad (魚生
'). There is an entire list of propitious dishes mentioned here: 吉祥話
Please do note that all transcriptions of words reflect the Cantonese pronunciation. That's a personal preference, seeing as my Mandarin is pretty damned bad, and I have no idea what Northerners do for New Year in any case. Other than mob train stations in Guangzhou.
one is not supposed to do any cooking on the first day of the festival. Tea-eggs, consequently, are a good thing to prepare in advance, especially as their preparation changes them from white (associated with funerals and other sad events) to a lovely mottled golden brown.
Sunflower, lotus, and pumpkin seeds: these represent lots of children, plus of course the prosperity that that implies.
Can be bought in many Chinese stores.
new year cake, which is a steamed fairly stiff pudding of glutinous rice flour, palm sugar, and a touch of oil. Available all over Chinatown, and there are recipes on the internet.
Thick slices can be pan-fried.
no cut or broken ones, just extra long ones. Long noodles symbolize longevity. With Obama Care finally in place, that might be a good thing.
cook it whole, with the head and feet on. Plain boiled chicken should be put on the altar as an offering (not something I do, but you should), and a whole roast chicken is propitious at the family dinner.
good luck, wealth, fortune, and all the rest of that.
Oranges are equally traditional, and whole blemish-free pomelos are suitable for the family altar.
Avoid squid, as when it cooks it curls up, precisely like a bedding roll, and hence symbolizes being either fired from your job or or forced to go on a long journey.
Also do not eat rice porridge (粥 'jook
')), as that is commonly associated with poverty. If you are a Northerner, this means that breakfast may be a bit of an issue, and if you are having a late night snack in Mongkok (旺角) after drinking at the karaoke bar (卡拉OK酒吧 'kaa laa o kei jau baa
') all night, you must find something else to settle your stomach and soak up all the Rémy Martin .
This blogger is a Caucasian living in San Francisco, presently single.
Consequently, the weight of tradition does not press on me, and as I cook for myself now, I have not prepared any of the special dishes in over five years. And I shan't be doing any significant house cleaning before New Years, or hanging up scrolls.
In fact, I will enjoy the festival while ignoring many of the traditions.
Nor shall I be hanging out late at karaoke bars in Mongkok.
I abjure and loathe karaoke, most of the time.
Perversely, I shall eat jook.
I love jook.
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It objected fiercely, then it failed.
I apologize for its oversights.
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