Always looking for a little extra help with ringing in the New Year correctly, if quietly, I have turned to eating luck-giving food. I would consider 2007 a very good year, since I didn't die as I had supposed I would, on or before my last birthday. I'm not going to attribute my good fortune directly to the eating of Hoppin' John, but I won't entirely discount it either.
So I am continuing my consumption of pork in the New Year, given the fact that pigs are symbolic of good fortune and prosperity. Since most of the ones I've seen end their short lives being consumed by humans, I don't feel that their luck is personal, but rather that it radiates from within their own pot bellies, only to find its way into other pot bellies-- ours. There are, of course, notable exceptions, like Babe, Wilbur, and Arnold Ziffel. If our pig friends are aware of these porcine super-stars, I do not know. I can only imagine that it might lead to unrealistic expectations of salvation and celebrity lifestyle on the part of the pig, but who am I to judge? I still believe I am going to win the lottery and meet a special someone who isn't crazy.
The scientific reasoning behind pork's luckiness stems from the fact that, unlike fish that might swim away with your fortune, or fowl who could very well likely fly away with it (and are thus to be avoided), pigs tend to root out treasure, aiding in your well-deserved prosperity. Not being one to question science, I am upping my pork consumption next week. It seems to be working for my neighbor across the hallway. She looks as though she has spent a lifetime eating nothing but pork several times a day. Judging by the headboard-banging and fascinating vocalizations emanating from the other side of my bedroom wall at this very moment, she seems to be a very lucky woman indeed.
Recipe: Pork Chops with Apples and Thyme
This is a recipe taken (but is not exactly duplicated) from a cookbook I worked on several years ago called New England by Molly Stevens, which was part of a series called New American Cooking by the folks at Williams-Sonoma. I was the food styling assistant on this book and was initially disappointed that we didn't photograph this recipe. Given the rather monochromatic nature of this dish, I now understand the wisdom of that decision. What this dish lacks in color, it definitely makes up for in flavor. It's seriously good.