Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How the Luck of New Year Pork Can Save Your Life While Teaching Difficult Lessons

In the South, collard greens or cabbage, black-eyed peas, and pork are thought to bring luck in the New Year and are traditionally eaten as the year changes. Pork, it is said, symbolizes forward progress since pigs root forward and their feet point forward. Honestly, these reasons are just likely excuses to eat this tasty beast, but I'm not one to turn my back on tradition.

Bringing in the New Year with a healthy serving of pork is always a good way to get started and this meal is a tradition all over this country. In rural Pennsylvania, where I spent my first eve of the 2010, the pork is traditionally served with sauerkraut, a custom owing greatly to the large German-immigrant population of the past 150 years. I shared this meal with a handful of cousins and a few friends during a sort of guys' weekend where I decided to test the relational theory of pork and luck.

First, let me give you the recipe:

Pork and Sauerkraut
4 onions, sliced
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 Gala apples, cored and sliced
2 lb sauerkraut, rinsed
1 (8 lb) bone-in pork butt
salt and pepper

•Cook the onions in a large heavy skillet with the butter and 1/2 tsp salt over medium heat, until they are well browned. This is the most labor-intensive step in this dish. You'll need to stir the onions frequently as they brown; it will take about 30 minutes.

•Add the onions to the kraut and apples in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Rub the pork all over with 11/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, then place it over the kraut mixture. Cover the pan with foil and roast at 350°F for 31/2 hours. Uncover the pan and continue to roast for another 30 minutes, until the meat is browned and falling off the bone.

Here's a video of the finished product staring one of my cousins, Leif:

After we ate the pork I decided to test the pork-brings-good-luck-theory by jumping over a bonfire:

I broke my ankle. In three places.
The pork worked! It may not cure stupidity, but thanks to its magical luck, I managed to get away without being set on fire.


  1. Fires are fun. Jumping over them is fun. Broken ankles are not fun. (But at least you didn't land 'in' the fire (with a broken ankle.)

    Much worse.

  2. Wow! Great food and action videos make for a terrific blog.

  3. yesult, Anon, I'm healing and looking forward to bringing many more hours of entertainment!

  4. You should have built a ramp and jumped the fire with the mini bike. Hope you are recovering well. Happy New Year.

  5. That didn't look like enough of a jump to break an ankle . . .