There’s an easy way of deciding if a holiday is actually real, or just a made-up fad: just write the holiday’s name into google, add „dishes”, and see if there are any peculiar meals associated with the celebration.
Lucky for us, the year’s last big bang is as real as it gets: it’s celebrated all over the world with different dishes and customs to go along with, and Hungary’s no exception. Let’s showcase you all the essential „Szilveszter” specialties and the superstitions they come with!
Almost every culture includes something in their menu that resembles money, although the particulars will vary according to what’s available. In Hungary, lentil soup is a New Year’s Eve staple, as it resembles coins – so if you want to ensure your financial stability for the coming 366 days (don’t forget, 2016 is a leap year!), you have to have something lentil-based on your table: you can go for a soup, a stew or even a salad!
Aspic – kocsonya in Hungarian – is a dish you either love or hate, there’s just no in-between for this one. It’s usually made of pork trotters, ears, snouts, and other questionably appetizing pork parts which are then slow-cooked together with veggies and spices, culminating in a thick broth that’s then poured into a mold and left to cool into a bowl of wobbly jelly.
Another New Year’s favourite is pork, partly because pigs root forward as they are digging for food, and partly because they are rotund chappies that also evoke prosperity. Also, back in the day, being able to slaughter a pig meant your family would eat for months to come, eventually using up the unlucky fella’s every part. A Frankfurter can also be a good substitute if you’re not a fan of porchetta: it’s cheap, quick to make, and you can eat loads of it. Poultry should be avoided however, as they scratch backwards which could cause regret or dwelling on the past.