Lentil soup in white bowl on blue willow plate with silver soup spoon

|| 1 January 2017

Bonne Année & Bonne Chance — Good Year & Good Luck

My grandmother always warned that you should be careful what you did on New Year’s Day because: What you did on New Year’s Day, you would do all year long.

I always hoped this wasn’t true — given the number of individuals who spend New Year’s Day treating headache and indigestion caused by too much alcohol and rich party food on New Year’s Eve.

But through the years I have come to treat what I do on New Year’s Day as the format for my lifestyle and workstyle for that year. If I have picked up non-productive habits the previous year, I make a special effort to avoid them on New Year’s Day.

For instance, for someone interested in politics, the news and analyses of the recent campaign and now transition has been impossible to ignore. But I have spent too much time reading politics. My work has suffered. Alas, so much so that with painting and restoration work, I did not finish the updated version of Chic & Slim Toujours that I began early in 2016. I did not write the new book I have planned.

So . . . this morning I did not turn to any of the online newspapers I read. Instead, sipping my morning tea, I went straight to reading an article that I hope will help me create a more interesting Chic & Slim website for you. Then, after I dashed next door to feed the neighbor’s dog, I was at the computer starting this first Nouvelles of 2017.

Also I try to include in my New Year’s Day activities that I hope to do each day all year long: Eat moderately and healthfully, exercise, work productively, and learn something new and useful.

What about the blackeyed peas?

I was raised in a family that believed, like everyone else in town, that you must eat blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. There was always a quart Mason jar of home-canned, home garden raised blackeyed peas supplied by my step-grandmother. The peas were cooked for several hours with a chunk of salt pork and served up at the mid-day meal on New Year’s Day — when we were usually still eating turkey and dressing — and fruitcake — left over from Christmas dinner. I did not much like those peas, but I dutifully ate them.

Then, in the years living in parts of the world where the custom was not followed, for the most part, I gave up the New Year’s blackeyed peas until when I was living on the Texas Riviera and a friend who believed religiously in the peas practically force fed me a serving on New Year’s Day.

It occurred to me that since I was writing about the French, it might be luckier to eat French lentils rather than blackeyed peas. I did. My luck seemed good enough — until last year when I forgot to eat either lentils or blackeyed peas. This year I am eating both. No matter how conscientious our lifestyle and workstyle, we could always use some luck.

Bonne Année & Bonne Chance ! — Anne Barone

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