Cutting your Noodle and other Chinese New Year Taboos
Do you have a favorite holiday? Are you all about the festivities of Christmas or do you prefer a Labor Day barbeque? Do you doodle hearts in anticipation of Valentine’s Day or are you more of a Halloween pumpkin and skulls person? Maybe it is all of the above because you just enjoy a good celebration.
One of my favorite holidays to celebrate is the Chinese New Year. Given I am not Chinese or that I’ve never been to China, it may seem odd for me to enjoy this annual event. To me it is no different than people who celebrate Bastille Day or Cinco de Mayo. They are all great occasions to gather and whoop it up no matter what your ethnicity.
Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate a year of hard work that has past and to wish for a new year filled with luck, good health and prosperity. Add in the bonus that they name the year after 1 of 12 animal zodiac cycles and how can it NOT be a celebration. (This year starts on January 27 and is the year of the Rooster.)
The thing that I really like about Chinese New Year is all of the rules that help insure that you will have a good year. Some may call it superstitious but the amount of thought that goes into each action is just fascinating to me.
For example, you can’t wash your hair for the first day. Apparently the Chinese pronunciation for hair is the same as part of the pronunciation for wealth. So if you wash your hair, you are washing away your wealth. So next weekend I will have unwashed hair because I don’t want to take any chances. (This weekend I have unwashed hair because I have a cold and am too tired to fuss with it.)
Another example, crying children are bad. Apparently it brings bad luck to the family so kids are placated in order to ward away all evil. (A crying child also keeps me away!) There is no mention of whining adults but I am finding that those are worse than children especially if you spend any time on social media.
My favorite of all the traditions is the red underwear. It is the ultimate shield to keep bad luck away. In all of my minutes and minutes of research, the red underwear taboo only came up once. It did not specify if you needed to wear them as underpants or if you should wear them on your head, like a rooster. Either way, why jinx yourself?
The one food tradition I am going to incorporate in my every day life is the one about noodles. You aren’t supposed to cut your noodle (I’m talking about pasta and not circumcision, that is called a Bris and that is a different culture and blogpost.)
Long noodles represent longevity. If you cut your noodle, you cut your life short. (In Chinese New Year tradition, all knives and scissors will cut your wealth so you might want to stay away from sharp objects.)
I have always been that person who chops up her noodles or pasta so that they are easier to eat. Instead, it is perfectly acceptable to serve a bowl or plate with super long noodles and have your guests slurp away! (I love a good noodle slurp!)
So this week’s recipe is my “longevity” noodle dish for the 2017 celebration of the year of the rooster. It is may become my new tradition to ward away evil, bad health and stomach grumbles.
- Grapeseed Oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ pound ground pork
- 2 Tbsp chili paste
- 3 Tbsp light soy
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup peanut butter
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 10 ounce fresh Chinese noodles (I can usually find them in the produce section near the tofu)
- In a small bowl, mix the chili paste, soy, vinegar and peanut butter. Set aside.
- Cook noodles per package instructions and rinse with cold water when they are done. (I do the rinse because mine were REALLY starchy and starting to clump. If your noodles aren't starchy, you don't need to rinse them.)
- While the noodles are cooking heat a large saute pan with about 1-2 Tbsp grapeseed oil over medium high heat.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add pork and cook until browned.
- Stir in sauce and pour entire mixture over noodles.
- Garnish with some green onions.
- I also served mine with some pickled cucumbers and crushed peanuts.
- Just remember don't cut your noodles!!!