New Year’s Good Luck Foods

I’m not a superstitious person. I sit in the thirteenth row, I spill salt almost daily without flinching, I’d even happily host an indoor open umbrella dance party. But my cynical heart goes pitter-patter at the idea of the New Year’s Day dinner tradition of lucky food. The prospect of a little control, however imaginary, over the impending cache of joys, disappointment, and drama of the coming new year feels hopeful.

According to popular folklore, if these foods are eaten on New Year’s Day, they ensure good fortune throughout the year:

Peas, beans, and lentils symbolize coins or wealth. Traditionally in the South we eat Black Eyed Peas.
If coins aren’t enough, try for greens, which represent cash money. I’ve read that specifically the greens should be folded.
Pork is considered a sign of prosperity because they root forward (unlike lobsters or chickens,
which root backward and scratch the ground).
Add a little cornbread for gold (plus it is essential to round out a meal of peas and greens).


You are what you eat. And it couldn’t hurt to eat a delicious meal that might produce a little scratch, right? Here’s my recipe for delicious collard greens; click here for Alicia’s take on Hoppin’ John to round out your lucky meal.


Photo by Chelsea Kyle, prop styling by Alex Brannian, food styling by Grace Parisi


Sautéed Collard Greens

I once believed the two secrets to delicious collard greens were bacon and time. Recently, I’ve learned that although delicious, red wine vinegar or very good quality apple cider vinegar brings the perfect tang.

Before you get started, see this video on the best way to clean collard greens:




12 slices very good quality bacon, sliced thinly

2 medium onions, finely sliced (think half moons)

6 cloves of garlic, smashed but not chopped

90 ounces of stock (I like veggie or pork stock, if you used boxed, use salt free)

3 pounds collard greens

1/3 cup good quality red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey, sugar, maple syrup or sorghum

1 teaspoon salt

Generous pinch red pepper flake



Cook bacon in a 10-qt. stockpot over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until crisp. Remove the bacon, but leave the fat in the pan. Add onion, and sauté until the onions are translucent; add smashed garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth and all ingredients but the vinegar. Cook 2-4 hours or to desired degree of tenderness. Return the bacon and vinegar and remove garlic gloves right before serving. Before serving, taste and add a bit more salt if necessary.


  • The latest from Nicole
Head Janitor, Chef, and Proprietor | Stomping Ground
Nicole’s cooking style is rooted in, but not limited to, her love of southern biscuits and her diverse culinary upbringing. A military brat, she spent her childhood in the Chicago suburbs enjoying her great-grandmother Mae’s Lithuanian cooking. As a tween, she moved to Paulding County, Ga. where she begrudgingly fell in love with the charmingly perplex small towns of the Deep South. She fondly remembers grubbing on Martin’s biscuits, late-night Waffle House debauchery and cooking with her family. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Nicole started a marketing career at an art nonprofit in Atlanta. At 25 years old, she became the youngest executive at the local Atlanta NPR affiliate. Chasing her dreams, she moved to Alexandria, Va. where she took a short post in the Whole Foods marketing department. Realizing that cooking had been her true love all along, she began night courses at L’Academie de Cuisine. She completed her apprenticeship at Blue Duck Tavern where she was promoted to a line cook after graduation. From there, Nicole worked as a private chef for busy Washington D.C. executives and their families. As grown-ups tend to do, Nicole realized something about her childhood — the best parts were enjoying small town communities, cooking with her great-grandmother and sharing meals with family and friends. She opened Stomping Ground to build a safe and welcoming community around yummy, handmade food from local sources. As her first foray running her own kitchen, she has shamelessly hired better, smarter cooks to fill her kitchen and your bellies. Her great-grandmother’s recipes often appear on the Stomping Ground menu without advertisement and, no, she won’t tell you the secret ingredients. Nicole lives in Del Ray and won’t shut up about how much she loves living there.

If you wander down Del Ray’s, “The Avenue,” you won’t miss the farm-red building with a rustic fence bordering the patio. Stomping Ground opened two years ago and quickly became popular for its made-from-scratch biscuits and its neighborhood vibe. On weekends, excited guests line up before Stomping Ground opens hoping to be the first to get a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit or a fresh salad. Stomping Ground is mostly known for its fast casual breakfast and lunch but on Thursdays and Fridays they provide a full dinner service after 5:00pm. All meals are built from local, seasonal food that is organic whenever possible.

2309 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Emily O Kimm says:

    We used this recipe for our collards this year. Thanks and YUM!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!