124. Traditional Superstition

Friday January 1 2021

Sure, we’re all ready for a fresh start. Just like I want a hard stop to writing this pandemic journal. But we can’t all wish the weirdness of 2020 away with a wave of our hands, now can we?

Still.

That kind of negative thinking is never helpful to the delicate psyche. We have a visceral need to be in control of our lives, so we turn to the things that make us feel like we have our hand firmly on the joystick of life and that only sounds dirty if you make it so.

I took a calculated risk and made an appointment this morning for my third COVID-19 test. My employer requires a Negative result before I can return to the office, so I had my fingers crossed this will be my lucky day. And oh fortunate me, 2021 starts off on a positive note with a negative results. So far, so good and it was only 10:30am.

Have you heard the claim that saying Rabbit Rabbit as your first words on the first day of a month will bring you good luck for the next thirty days? Or alternatively, the darker side of the superstition is that not saying Rabbit Rabbit after you wake up will bring bad luck for the entire month. The ante is upped for New Year’s Day when one is required to utter the double lepus pronouncement while walking backwards down the stairs. I admit, while it’s intriguing, I’ve never taken to this tradition, as my first words upon awaking nearly always involve yelling at a sixty-pound dog to stop standing on my bladder.

Some of you didn’t start 2020 with pork & sauerkraut and you see what trouble you caused.

But as far as New Year traditions go, the husband and I carry on his family’s legacy of celebrating every January 1st with a pork and sauerkraut dinner. Both of our families come from a hearty German line, so this feels appropriate and not superstitious at all.

Just kidding. It’s totally based on superstition. Pork and sauerkraut has a long history with those of German heritage who insist on this fare to bring Viel Glück (Good Luck) into the coming year. Actually, this has been around so long that nobody really knows how it started and there are countless guesses on the origin. One of the strongest theories, though, is mid-winter is when the cabbage is done fermenting, so why not eat it now? And nobody serves chicken with sauerkraut because that’s just scandalous. So pork it is.

Heck, we don’t even know how long this New Year’s tradition has been in his family or when it started. But the two of us have been doing it for nearly four decades. Which brings the challenge of seeing how much I can tweak this tradition and still keep the good luck coming. After all, there are only so many ways to make this meal.

I try a new recipe every year and today’s winner was Brined Pork Chops with Apples & Onions from the Cook’s Cook, a lovely foodie website. Traditional fare, but with a bit extra effort to pull off, so I felt like I accomplished something.

The first step is to brine the pork using an obscene amount of salt in four quarts of water in a non-reactive bowl. No need to Google what that means since I only have one bowl large enough for this task, never mind how it reacts. Once I recovered from the bowl challenge, I continued to destroy the kitchen by completing the remaining steps. It feels like I may never get this mess cleaned up, but of course I will. Tomorrow.

I’ll take care of the dishes in the morning, as I usually do. Because I don’t want to mess with tradition. That only catches the attention of Fate and Misfortune, which would also be great names for my next cats.

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