New Year Traditions in America

newyear   In the U.S., New Year’s Day is becoming a time to relax and recover from the previous holidays.
   Morning hours can include watching the spectacular Rose Bowl Parade on television and later seeing the game.
   Americans generally ignore the good-luck traditions that are popular in other countries. But a large percentage of us still think we can cook and eat our way to a prosperous new year.
   Corned beef and cabbage is one lucky choice because cabbage leaves signify money in this and other cultures. Many people think pork should be included in the New Year’s meal. For hundreds of years, the hog has signified prosperity. Black-eyed peas, hog jowls or ham are lucky foods in some areas as is rice.
   Making New Year’s resolutions is an admirable New Year’s Day activity. Many of us make a list of everything we would like to do better in the coming year. We feel happy if we are able to accomplish at least a few items on the list.
   Perhaps you celebrated New Year’s Eve with Champagne. Here is a little history of this tradition and more about Champagne:


   Toasting with the bubbly:
   It was about 1680 in a French monastery when Dom Perignon made a great discovery. He called to his fellow monks, “Come quickly! I am drinking stars!” No wonder Champagne’s spirit of revelry has lasted over time.    When someone offers to open a bottle of Champagne, you can never predict how many glasses you will get. The range of bottle sizes and their delightful names are not widely known, but to the connoisseur such knowledge is basic.
   Some of the bottle names and sizes are:
   Piccolo: Italian for “small,” 1/4 bottle.
   Demi: French for “half,” half a bottle.
   Standard: At .75 liters, it fills about eight Champagne flute glasses.
   Fifth: A fifth of a gallon, .757 liters.
   Magnum: Latin for “great,” it’s twice the size of a Standard bottle, 1.5 liters, according to champagne
   Jeroboam: Named for a 10th century Israeli king, it means “May the people grow numerous” and holds 32 glasses.
   To open a bottle without denting the ceiling, beaning a guest or wasting product, hold the cork and rotate the bottle (rather than the cork). Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle. The opening should make a “loving whisper” rather than a loud pop. For great occasions, experienced swordsmen use a saber to open a Champagne bottle by breaking off the head.
   Champagne is usually served in a Champagne flute. It has a long stem and a tall, narrow bowl, thin sides and an etched bottom. The ideal serving temperature is 43 to 48 degrees F. In 2009, a bottle of 1825 Perrier-Jouet Champagne was opened. It was drinkable and had hints of truffles and caramel.

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