Just having a look at Twitter, it seems we all haven’t clearly eaten enough over the last two weeks.
So here are some food-based fortune suggestions to ring in a prosperous 2012!
First, two points:
One… a confession. I fucking hate New Years.
Yes, that is as clichéd and obvious as saying “I really like Christmas” because everyone feels the same way.
Cast your mind back about seven years to the heyday of SATC and it was the complete reverse. (Though I see no sign of this trend ‘going retrograde’ anytime soon.)
Part of it is life stage, as well. I’m no longer the kinda-pretty, kinda-druggy, single party boy tearing up tropical Sydney with his similarly attributed sister. (We had this whole thing about finding some Sicilian twins and opening a taverna by the beach… probably had to be there.)
You remember those years where you could drink a whole bottle of vodka and eat an entire pizza at 2am then get three hours kip before waking up fresh as a daisy and just slide into your 31 inch jeans and bounce off to work?
Those days are… no longer. Now, during holidays, I want double-digit sleeping hours and waking hours spent resting somewhere indoors. Especially at the end of a frantic Christmas season of entertaining many, many guests and relatives. TV, absolute silence while watching TV and a home-cooked meal followed by a glass of midnight champagne with my partner. Golden.
Secondly… Fortune Herself. A chaos magic blog known for its probabilistic universe hacks might not seem like the place you’d look for an anthropomorphic personification of the all-too-human impressions of a non-stochastic biosphere getting on with its business.
But, really… what human impression of the workings of the universe is better suited to anthropomorphication than Fortune itself? As Seneca says, “call it Nature, call it Fate, Fortune; all of these are names of the one and selfsame God.” Like Lovecraft’s “blind idiot God of chaos”, Fortune is simply easier to grokk if you think of it as some blind chick spinning a wheel. Here are Marcus Valerius Martialis’s words:
Fortune gives too much to many, enough to none.
There is no getting around it. Your understanding of the universe is wrong. Your magic is going to work dickishly. Like the comparative usefulness of a whole horse versus half a horse, sometimes the best thing you can do is treat Fortune as something that might be amenable to petition.
So then… how do we put the desire to do nothing at New Years together with the desire to petition Fortune?
Easy. The same way I do everything. With food.
Specifically cotechino con lenticchie. To be über (molto?) traditional, you should really eat this after midnight.
But, well… two things.
First, see above re pizza. Secondly, Jupiter went direct at Christmas so from a good fortune perspective you’re sweet from right now.
One note on the above recipe. My favourite chef/chef I am currently most attracted to/chef I am half-heartedly stalking recommends using brown lentils rather than green for New Years.
There isn’t much between them to be honest but he does own and run one of the best Italian restaurants in the world outside Italy and definitely the best in London so… you know… amateurs like me should go with the recipe from his book.
Well… kinda. I couldn’t find raw cotechino at Lina Stores. so I got pre-cooked. It will still be lentils a la Jacob.
But whatever. From a magical perspective the reason this is served at New Years is sympathetic magic. The lentils resemble little coins and thus -once activated- bring prosperity.
The second magical ingredient is actually the pork as this is also a prosperous animal. So if you can’t find cotechino then just go for pork sausages and cook something more like this. (And lay in some cotechino for next year.)
That’s the secondo sorted. Corntorno should traditionally be mostarda (which is easier to find than you might think). Or you could make your own.
As for dolce… well, what else could it be but panettone? A traditional Milanese bread based on a medieval recipe which is itself based on an ancient Roman recipe of acidic sweetbread, historically served at New Years for similarly prosperous reasons. I just slice, grill and butter it (which tastes like God’s fruit toast) but you can be fancier if you like.
It was the ingredient du jour in London this Christmas… you could get it literally anyway. (Fingers crossed all this panettone consumption will turn the city’s fortunes around?) Big change from last year when I walked for miles looking for some and then my flatmate had to haggle with a nearby gelateria for their last one.
Every New Years day when I was growing up my grandmother would bring over some shortbread for us to collectively break and eat.
This is a largely Scottish custom known as first footing. My partner makes a mean shortbread so (yes, following the panettone) we’ll make a batch of this and walk it through the door just after midnight.
I have historically thrown seven coins through the front door at the stroke of midnight but I actually think this is a transplanted Chinese New Year custom? Whatevs. If the intention is there is can’t hurt.
And it’s that last bit that is the most important, of course. The gods know a lot can happen in a year. Our goal here is to provide a beneficial bump to a currently mysterious process.
You know the expression “my ship has come in”? Magical folk are aware that we are all captains here. We bring in our own ships. Except when we don’t.
As The Bard himself says:
Fortune bring in some boats that are not steered.
May 2012 bring you many unsteered boats.