In Japanese homes on the first day of the year, the dish to eat is ozoni, a good luck soup composed of pink-rimmed fish cake, daikon, carrot, and shiitake mushrooms floating in a rich dashi (kelp and bonito broth) along with mochi, chewy rice cakes, which are oven-toasted until they resemble fire-licked marshmallows. Get the recipe for Japanese New Year's Soup »Ingalls Photography
In many cultures around the world, special ingredients or dishes are known as bearers of good luck for the coming year. Some rituals are straight-forward: In Spain, for example, tradition says to eat twelve grapes at midnight, one for each month, for good luck in the upcoming year. Elsewhere, the luck comes from cooking with a certain ingredient on the first of the year: lentils in Italy, pickled herring in Poland and Germany, long noodles in China and Japan, roast pork in Cuba and other Latin American countries, pomegranates in Turkey, and black-eyed peas here in the United States. To start your year off right, choose one recipe from this collection of dishes featuring lucky ingredients, or serve an entire charmed feast to ring in the new year with good food and fortune.