Menifee Foodie: Time for Traditions, a New Beginning

By Malissa Meeks

When I was a child growing up in Florida, we always ate Black-Eyed Peas on New Years Day. I didn’t really understand why it was so important to my mom that we ate our peas, but as I grew older, I gained that understanding.

The tradition is that by doing this, we will bring ourselves good luck and prosperity for the New Year. I am not a superstitious person, but I do have a dish of black-eyed peas every New Year.

Some other traditional New Years foods are greens. Greens are the color of money and are believed to bring financial prosperity. Dried beans are believed to represent coins. Fish is lucky for a couple of reasons. The scales represent money and because they swim in schools, they represent abundance. Noodles and rice are symbols of long life and abundance. If you were to plan your New Years celebration around these symbolic foods, you might end up with a strange dinner.

My husband and I have been married for 39 years and we have made the same New Years Eve dinner for all 39 years. It has been a great opportunity for us to invite friends and family to come over for our traditional Japanese dinner.

My husband spent two years in Japan and learned to love Japanese food. Every year he cooks tempura, gyoza, teriyaki chicken and rice for our New Years party. If our kids cannot make it to our house for New Years Eve, they prepare this same dinner at their house.

Traditions are so much fun and often food is a big part of family traditions. What would camping be without smores? What would a birthday be without a birthday cake? It is interesting how food is not just part of nutrition but also a huge part of bringing people together and families forming their own traditions.

My New Years wish for all of you is a year of prosperity, love, peace and a year full of all of the good things that you desire.

Share with our readers what your New Years traditions are by writing a comment to this column.

Happy New Year from the Menifee 24/7 Foodie.

Malissa Meeks is a mother of seven who knows her way around the kitchen. By her estimate, she has prepared more than 42,000 meals over the years. She also knows what she likes in a good restaurant. Her column appears here every Tuesday. Leave comments here or email them to


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