American food's pretty low on culinary symbolism (six foot hoagie=longevity?). Clearly, we could learn a lot from Chinese New Year.
On February 10, Chinese families everywhere will celebrate the Year of the Snake with elaborate meals. The idea isn’t abundance for its own sake (that's Thanksgiving), but consuming dishes imbued with symbolic meaning. (Interesting aside: I have yet to encounter a food of Chinese New Year that represents “lose 5 pounds.” You’ll see a lot more “health” and “wellness” symbolism than “may you deprive yourself of refined carbs in the coming year.”)
So read on, not for an authentic culinary tour of Chinese New Year—you can find that elsewhere, ideally in home-cooked form—but for a glimpse at some ingredients and ideas that just might change the way you look at food, all year long.
Chinese New Year Image via Shutterstock