In honor of my German (Hessian) great-grandparents, and in the tradition handed down to the Schweinsberg granddaughters through Grandma Karolina, I have been busy this morning making sure that my little household will be as lucky as possible in the coming year. (And Heaven knows, we may need all the help we can get!)
My southern friends won't understand this. They'll want to talk about back-eyed peas and greens, but -- trust me -- on a blustery New Year's Eve, whether in Germany or Pennsylvania-- finding a pot of pork and sauerkraut is about as lucky as it gets!
Tradition says that it always brings good luck to eat pork, although for those who don't like the meat, a marzipan pig makes a good substitute. The pork itself can take many forms -- a schnitzel, a roast, a tender chop, or -- ideally -- slow-cooked with sauerkraut. Why sauerkraut? Because it comes with a wish that you may have as much money as there are shreds of cabbage in a vat of sauerkraut.
My own favorite version of the old recipe combines the following ingredients in a slow cooker and lets them meld on low for six hours. Yes, I suppose it might taste better in a cast iron pot simmering on the back of a wood-burning stove, but, hey! Serve with mashed potatoes. And why mashed potatoes? Because it tastes good!
Therein, of course, lies a moral challenge. The onion and apple halves can last for another use, but what does one do with a half a bottle of beer, rapidly warming and losing its foam? Well, I'm fairly sure Grandma Karolina would have said:
"Abfälle, die nicht wollen, dass nicht." (Waste not, want not).