Focus in on the delights of the kitchen and the table with ...

Happy New Year Morning Sky

I love January 2nd, the day I turn the page on the year gone by, and finish up the black eyed peas and greens from New Year’s Day, and rebook my financial records with new folders for the monthly bills and such — what? You say it’s January 8th, not January 2nd? Oh. Well, yes, actually you are correct about that.

I’m having a re-do, calendar-wise, because I missed my January 2nd-3rd Good Start the first time around. Due to a major deadline January 5th, I just kept chugging along in an extended December until I got the work done and in. I reconfigured my calendar to be more of a December 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and so on, until I got to DONE!

Now mind you, I didn’t miss the holiday fun part: We celebrated New Year’s Eve, watching Times Square on tv and eating meatballs and chicken wings and this:

New Year Grapes

My friend Bill Smith told me that eating 12 grapes at midnight, one for each month of the New Year, was a luck-magnet, and that is what we did. So far, it’s working!

Then we cooked the lucky foods for New Year’s Day and ate ’em up for lunch:

New Year greens

Turnip greens with turnips… New Year Peasand crowder peas with ham hocks,

and there was rice to bring it all together into a Good Luck Plate. But we wanted to make sure we had the luck thing covered, so we locked in a good luck year by meeting my friend Jackie Gordon at @Mama Dip’s Kitchen for Mrs. Mildred Council’s annual New Year’s Day DInner, which looked like this:

New Yr Mama Dips Plate

Roast pork, black eyed peas, collard greens, and candied yams, with cornbread or biscuits and we had both. Sweet tea, too. We had the best time, and can’t wait for Jackie’s next visit to NC. She is SO MUCH FUN!

New Year Mama Dips Jackie Paul

And then it was back to work, with the day after January 1st being, for me, December 32nd. Still on Deadline, still finishing things that started in 2014, and I kept my head down and my gameface/workface on EXCEPT for that one little other time, December 33rd, known to most people as January 3rd, we did go indulge in a holiday celebration family dinner out at a treasure of a restaurant which is just a little ride through the country to the historic and charming next town of Hillsborough NC, to dine at Panciuto, where everything was extraordinarily lovely and delicious and 97% local, they keep track and do it with heart, but this ordered by the youngest member of our party, was stellar and enchanting:

New Year Ravioli

Pumpkin-amaretti ravioli, honey, wilted spinach, pumpkin oil, spiced pumpkin seeds, parmesan

So on we went with Extended December,until I finished it up and sent it in, and then Actual January 6th was Celebration/Got It DONE!/Epiphany/Twelfth Day of Christmas, and we went over to a place we love and visit often, Crook’s Corner  to visit with Crook’s Chef  and all-around Good Soul, Chef Bill Smith (who told me about the 12 grapes, remember?) and we had the best time eating this:

New YEar Pate Crooks

 which is Bill’s famous pate, both the creamy and the chunky, along with perfection purple onion jam at high noon, and Jezebel sauce at 6 o’clock. What is Jezebel sauce, you may ask? And I didn’t even know either,  so I looked it up on the fabulous and essential website:

The Food Timeline.Org

which you should bookmark because this is the place to find out food things in detail and depth, from the brilliant and tenacious Lynne Olver, Culinary Historian, Librarian Extraordinaire, who knows or will find out. For the FoodTimeline scoop on Jezebel sauce, click HERE.

And now I am Getting Back To Work, making new folders, setting up the files, paying post-Christmas bills, gathering Christmas stockings dish towels and tablecloths and putting them in laundry if needed and boxes if not, and checking calendar and all the things we do on this day, January 2nd.

Tomorrow I plan to rejoin the rest of the world, and jump from Jan. 2 to Jan. 9th, so that I can be on time and task and on board for all that this year has in store for me. This is a wish from me to you for a good new chapter, a sweet start, a door opening and a calendar page beckoning with what you most love to do. Happy 2015, one and all!

New Year sunrise 2

This sunrise greeted me the day I finished my project and sent it in. Good sign of a good new year.  Hope yours is too.

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. Jackie Gordon Singing Chef Reply

    I’m so thrilled that I was able to spend new years day with you and your family in your hood!!!
    Mama Dips was a lot of fun and delicious. I really appreciate your recommendations — you should compile them in a blog post about visiting Chapel Hill! It’s already written and Michael Twitty said, “Nancie McDermott is the ambassador of Piedmont NC!”.

    I look forward to my next visit to North Carolina where we can hang out and “eat-plore” even more. Big Hugs!!!

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      To eat-ploring with you, Jackie, here and anywhere else! Great idea, I’m on it.

  2. sippitysup Reply

    I’ve just returned from Peru where that 12 grapes thing is gospel. We did it too. They say there you have to recite the months in order with each grape. So we did that too. In Spanish even. GREG

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      I love that! Next year I will be even luckier, though I will have to make cue cards, even for English — I get even more distracted when excited. All the best for a Super SippitySup Year!

  3. Padaek Reply

    Hi Nancie,

    Happy new year to you and yours! I hope this year is filled with great happiness for you all. That sunrise is a lovely sign! Will try to remember the 12 grapes for this NYE. I might need to try and triple my chances though.  Thanks for The Food Timeline as well. Best wishes!

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      And to you, Padaek! All the best with your new year, and new adventures on your wonderful blog, and with your artwork. I will enjoy following along.

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