Food and tradition - New Year's Day

Food is a huge part of our culture and tradition. We all have different thoughts and feelings about food. Whether we view it as a comfort, or as something evil, we all have to have it.

Different cultures have various rituals that include food. Holidays are traditions that routinely include food. Most events we attend have food--football tailgating, book clubs, family reunions, weddings, birthday celebrations, summer cookouts, and the list goes on. Food (and water) is life. It's important and necessary to our everyday existence.

No wonder food has been elevated to such a high priority in our existence! Plus, we like food. Or most of us do. Some of us even have a love/hate relationship with food. That's a blog topic for another day.

Today is a traditional food day for me. Even though I live alone, and even though I'll cook way more than I need for just me, for as long as I can remember, I've always eaten certain foods on New Year's day. The same foods my mother used to cook (mostly) and my grandmother. Both of these beautiful ladies are no longer with us, so this New Year's day, as I cook, I think of them and the tradition they started that I'm carrying on.

The menu?
  • Pork Roast in the crock pot
  • Sauerkraut
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Blackeyed peas
  • Collard greens
Supposedly, those are all of the foods that will bring you wealth in the new year. Who am I to judge? And bonus, they are all gluten free, which is important for me.

I'll admit I'm not cooking from scratch for the rest of the meal. Mostly I'm opening cans, but the sauerkraut will definitely enhance the pork (cooked on high with salt, pepper, bay leaf, and thyme until falling apart). I'll add the kraut and some brown sugar about an hour before the pork is done. The greens and beans will be cooked with leftover ham (from yesterday) and chopped onion, and the mashed potatoes will be made with real butter and evaporated milk, salt and pepper. 

Now here's the Home Ec Analytics coming at you.

The pork roast was on sale (I love to buy on sale). The 4.76 pound roast cost $8.52, so roughly $1.79 a pound. Normally, the roast sold for $4.49 a pound for a total cost of $21.37. That's a cost savings of $12.85. Woot! 

Now, it's a nearly 5 pound roast and I live alone, remember? So what to do with the meat and all the trimmings after today? Well, I live on leftovers. I believe in them and I never, ever throw away food (unless it's green and slimy, and if it gets that way in my fridge, them shame on me!)

I'll have my dinner today, and then at the end of the day, I'll create several lunches/dinners in plastic containers. I'll take them to work with me for lunch, or dinner is at the ready when I get home. I imagine this meal cooked today will last for 2-3 days, and then whatever meat is left by say, Tuesday, I'll freeze for future use in soup or perhaps BBQ sandwiches, stretching the $8.52 investment even further. 

At the minimum, I figure I'll get six meals out of this pork butt at @$1.42 a meal for the meat alone. Not too shabby. Right?

You can read more about food, culture and tradition at this link. 

What are you cooking today? Or if not cooking, eating?

Update: 4:32 PM EST -- Yum!