Are there special foods your family eats on New Year’s Day? Each year my family covers the bases by eating several foods thought to bring good luck in the New Year.
First is Black Eyed Peas and Corn Bread. I was told growing up the more Black Eyed Peas you eat on New Year’s Day, the more money that will come your way in the New Year.
Next, from my German and Polish side, Sauerkraut and Pork or Pork Sausage was thought to bring good luck in the New Year. Cabbage could also be served instead of the Sauerkraut. My dad also ate Pickled Herring or sardines, but I could never get into that one.
And living in Texas, we add a few more. On the menu will also be Tamales and Chili. Both are thought to bring good luck in the New Year.
What food traditions does your family follow on New Year’s Day?
This is a great dish to make in the winter when cooking warms the whole kitchen.
2 cups dry pinto beans (about 16 oz)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder or 2 garlic cloves slightly crushed (optional)
1 small chunk white onion (optional)
1 tsp Black Pepper (optional)
¼ lb. ham chunks, ham fat, deli ham, ham bone, salt pork, or bacon
6 to 8 cups hot water
2 cups flour, divided
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1. Rinse and sort beans in cold water once or twice until water runs clear.
2a. (Traditional Soak) Cover beans with hot water and soak overnight.
2b (Quick Soak) Cover with 2 inches of hot water. Bring to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
3. Add the other ingredients to the soaked and rinsed beans in a 6-quart pot with 6 cups of hot water. The water should cover beans.
4. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium, keeping it at a simmer. Simmer gently with lid tilted until beans are tender, about 1.5 to 2 hours. Warning: If more water is needed, always add hot or boiling water, a cup or so at a time.
DO NOT ADD COLD WATER TO HOT BEANS — IT WILL CAUSE THE BEANS TO SPLIT.
5. When beans are almost done, begin to make the dumplings.
6. Beat the eggs
7. Add 1 cup of flour, salt, and baking powder and mix well.
8. Continue to add the remaining flour until mixture is a very thick dough. A good rule of thumb is that it is not thick enough until your arm hurts trying to mix the dough.
9. Add HOT water to beans until there is about 2” to 3” of water over the beans. Allow the beans to resume simmering.
DO NOT ADD COLD WATER TO HOT BEANS — IT WILL CAUSE THE BEANS TO SPLIT.
10. Use a large spoon to transfer the dumpling dough into the bean broth. Before each dumpling, dip large spoon into bean broth (this helps keep the dough from sticking to the spoon.) Then dip one spoonful of dough into bean broth. The dumpling should separate from the spoon. Repeat until all dough is used.
This is a old family favorite that both Daddy and Grandma Voigt would make for our family. We could make several meals from one pot of beans. In that one pot you have beans, the bean broth – which is like a soup, and the dumplings. The dumplings were a favorite. These are not your typical fluffy dumplings. These are hearty dumplings that will put meat on your bones and fill you up. My sister and I would fight over who would get the last one. If we still had beans left, Daddy would sometimes make a second batch of dumplings.
Can you spell it without any R’s?This is a true family favorite. My dad loved telling this to the kids. I learned it at as a kid and he taught it to my kids too. We hardly ever cross a railroad track without someone bringing it up again.
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tbsp Gebhardt Chili Powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 (32 oz) jar Picante Sauce (pick your heat – Mild, Medium, Hot)
3 tbsp masa harina or flour (optional)
¼ cup water (optional)
1. In a skillet, brown ground beef, chopped onion (optional), and minced garlic (optional).
2. Combine ground beef mixture, Chili Powder, ground cumin, salt and Picante Sauce in a slow cooker.
3. Set on low and cook for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. For thicker chili (optional), combine masa and water.
4a. Pour mixture evenly over the chili and mix.
4b. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours and 15 minutes
So what’s so “German” about Chili?
Chili power was invented by a German Immigrant by the name of William Gebhardt. He developed his mixture of ground chili and spices in a small restaurant in New Braunfels, Texas. Since chiles were only available after the summer harvest, chili was only a seasonal food during that era. Gebhardt solved the problem by importing Mexican ancho chiles, grinding the peppers through a small home meat grinder three times, and then dried the ground pepper into a powder. The resulting mixture could be used to serve Chili year-round. Gebhardt moved to San Antonio in 1890 and registered Eagle Brand Chili Powder in 1896. The Gebhardt brand of chili powder is today regarded by many chili cooks as a premium chili powder and specified by name in their recipes.
This recipe won the 2004 IBM Austin Linux Technology Center chili cook-off.
Every time I went over to see my Grandma and Grandpa Voigt (that is pronounced “Foeht”, not “Voit”), Grandpa greeted me with a resounding “Gutten Tog Hair Foeht. Vie gayts?” in German. Unusually he was sitting on the porch smoking his pipe and watching the humming birds at the two feeders he kept full. Of course the answer was always “Gayt gut” as I walked up the stairs to the porch (rather loudly, since Grandpa was a little hard of hearing.) It took me a while to fully understand why he got such a kick out of it.
On the one hand, I think he enjoyed trying to speak German to his grandson. I was the first generation to not speak German in the home since the family arrived in Texas in 1844. To learn it, I took German in High School — getting some of the lowest grades of my high school years. I would listen to my Grandma and Grandpa talk to Daddy and try to understand what was being said. Most of the time I could generally figure it out given the number of English words that crept into the Texas-German dialect in New Braunfels. But I never really got a hold of it. Even after the classes in High School, they talked just fast enough that I was always a few seconds behind in the mental translation.
But I think Grandpa also got a kick out of the “Hair Foaht” because he could call me that. Daddy was his only surviving son. So besides Daddy and Grandpa’s brother Ervin, I was the only other family member he could call “Hair Foeht”. This is not to say he did not care for his other 17 grandsons (and 3 granddaughters) — I know he did. I just happened to be the one that carried on the family name. Now as a father and as many other fathers and grandfathers know, that can at times be special.
And to be honest, I got a kick out of it too.
NOTE: Those that know German will recognize the “”Gutten Tog Hair Foeht. Vie gayts?” as really “Guten Tag Herr Voigt. Wie Gehts?” in German. This is the equivalent of “Good Day Mr. Voigt. How is it going?” in English. “Gayt gut” is really “Geht Gut” in German, which is short for “Es geht Gut”. This is the same as “It goes well” in English. This dialogue is a very standard German exchange of greetings.