There is no credibility in “lucky” New Year’s Eve cooking. None. Of course, don’t confuse us with the facts. We all believe in certain superstitions and fear to ignore them.

There is no credibility in “lucky” New Year’s Eve cooking. None. Of course, don’t confuse us with the facts. We all believe in certain superstitions and fear to ignore them.

In our area, it’s sauerkraut and pork for the first meal of the new year. It’s a German thing, stemming from pork as a symbol of prosperity and sauerkraut being just sauerkraut. Wait. Cabbage is good luck, and that’s sauerkraut.

My mom insisted we stay awake until midnight, when she’d roll out a full-blown kraut dinner. I had trouble staying awake through it, but once digested, I had trouble going to sleep. You won’t feel very lucky after midnight sauerkraut.

This brings up an important tradition in many countries. Having lots of food on the table at midnight ensures you will not go hungry for the rest of the year.

Fish is a perfect first meal. It’s sanctified by the pope. The Danes do boiled cod. The Italians crave the elegant baccala, made from dried salt cod.

Herring must be consumed at midnight in Poland. Certain Germans eat carp and place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. That’s not sanctified by the pope.

The Swedes really do it big. They present a long buffet of seafood dishes to the New Year’s party throng. Japan is more exact. They eat fish roe that night for fertility, shrimp for long life and sardines for a plentiful harvest.

For some reason, beans have become a sign of money. They are consumed on New Year’s Eve with a nod to financial rewards. Germans often combine beans and pork for extra good luck.

The money thing continues in the United States. Southerners cook collards, kale and chard at New Year’s, believing them to be a sign of folding money. The more one consumes, the larger the fortune of the coming year.

In the South, you’ll find a lot of black-eyed peas, collards, cabbage and hamhocks on party tables. Money will come all year after that, if you remember the cornpone.

Spain offers a most unusual New Year’s food rite. They eat one grape per hour up to midnight, 12 in all. The notion also is popular in South America.

Each grape apparently represents a month. If the grape is sweet, good luck is coming; if sour, watch out. In Peru, they eat 13 grapes. Nobody knows why, except for extra luck.

Asians celebrate the first meal of the year with noodles. There’s a catch. If you bite the noodle before it’s all in your mouth, take out a life-insurance policy.

Nigerians appreciate goat meat on rice with palm wine. In Texas, they consume dried peas and pork chops. During the Civil War, that’s what most folks ate.

Then we have the foods to avoid. Eating lobster in the first meal of the new year is bad luck in Austria. That’s because they swim backward. How that impacts luck is not understood. They just do it.

Some folks figure if one food is lucky, two and more will be wonderfully lucky. Here’s a multi-luck menu for your first meal of the New Year. It’s guaranteed to bring the best in the new year. Then again, don’t quote us.

Contact Jim Hillibish at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.