‘Food Superstitions’ is a very curiously interesting topic to write on. This might be due to the fact that in general superstitions are engrossing and entertaining at the same time. There are people who do not believe in superstitions, but at least they find them amusing. In this world full of superstitions, food isn’t left far off. Each culture and tradition has one or more food superstition which is famous.
Have you ever spilled the salt? Have you ever spilled the milk? If you have managed to do any of these stunts then you must be aware of the consequences. No I am not talking about the bad omens here, but the verbal torture that you have gone through which was dictated by your mother. Can you recollect any such incident? Today you will be reading about some food superstitions that are spread across the world and are still believed even in this 21st Century.
One of the most funny and absolutely untrue food superstition that I was told as a child is, if I eat the seed of a fruit then a plant will grow out of my mouth. That scared me to the core as a child. I know you too must have experienced this prank which someone pulled on you, when you were a kid. So today’s post is all about weird, famous, lesser known, and bizarre food superstitions which we can now causally laugh it off. So tell me are you ready for this fun ride?
Apple Peels Say Something
I assume that you are among those people who do not peel apple, we rather cut it in pieces with the skin intact and eat it. Or we bite into it directly. Right? So this one is not for you, unless you want to try some adventure. You need to peel the skin using a knife, keep peeling till the skin naturally breaks from the surface. Next step is to put that piece of peeled skin on a plane surface. It is believed that the skin will form a shape which will resemble any alphabet.
The letter that the peel resembles will be the initial of your true love’s name. So if you are already married, engaged, or in a relationship please do this experiment and tell me if it really works. Or you can verify this food superstition as something which is just worth gossip. Legends say if you peel the entire skin in one go then it will form the entire name for you. I am suppressing my laughter here.
Bananas are prohibited on fishing boat
More than a superstition, it sounds like a lame excuse to me. A fishermen once went for fishing and ate a banana and felt sick. This resulted in a low number of catch to his day’s tally. Since this day, the traditional fishermen do not allow bananas on the board as it is linked with low quantity of fish catches. What you think how true this can be?
A very simple explanation to this is, the sticky pulp of banana makes the hands sticky and causes relative discomfort while catching the fish. Also the banana peel if left on the deck might cause mishap and lead to injuries. So this can be a logical reason behind this 18th Century food superstition which originated in Caribbean.
Chili Pepper can end a Friendship
So this legend goes like this, if on a dining table a friend asks you for a chili pepper and you hand it over to that friend directly then your friendship will break. So do you have any irritating friend who is a pain in the wrong place? Then now you have a way to get rid of him/her. This is very simple, I thought this should at least have us put the pepper in his mouth or eyes. That would have looked more legit.
So that was about breaking a bad friendship. So if you want to save your friendship then always place the chili pepper on the table and ask your friend to pick that up by himself/herself. I wonder who demands a chili pepper while eating food, we do it at Vadapav stall, but that never broke our friendship with Vadapav wala. Isn’t it?
Fish in Focus before starting a new project or work
This one is even more hilarious as it comes from eastern India. To be specific it is from Bengal. So work or no work, these guys can hardly take their eyes of the fish. Say ‘Macher Zol’ aloud and any Bengali would come running to you. So it is obvious that it is said that having a look at fish before staring anything new is said to be auspicious.
Of course it is going to be auspicious. As after the task is complete you can eat that fish, and while doing the task you will be highly motivated from the thoughts of such a tasty treat that awaits you later. Do you know a Bengali? Tag that friend of yours and validate this food superstition.
Chilies and Lemon the Superheroes
In India you will see a thread pierced through seven chilies and a lemon which hangs in front of a car or a shop or a hawker stall. This is believed to ward off evil energies and evil sights. I am not sure about evil spirits but the thread soaked in the acids of lemon and chilies is sure way to keep the pests at bay.
At my home this food superstition is not practiced, but most of Indians follow this religiously. Is your home one of them? Let me know if it works?
Italian Food Superstitions
There are two very jolly good superstitions. It is said that while eating at a dinner table if you are single then you should not be seated at the corners. So to practice this, you will first need a table with more than 4 seats. Technically then only you can sit in the middle and have a hope for finding your Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Next is related to good wine. It is not a good idea to toast with water in Italy, as it may bring bad luck. So you should always keep some good red wine or champagne handy. Even kids are allowed to have a drop of these drinks in their water. Such a strong food superstition.
Coffee can dictate your Luck
Are you a coffee lover? Do you adore the sight of that warm cup of coffee from which the steaming aroma rises? Those frothy bubbles on the surface which speaks about its freshness? Yes these same bubbles dictate luck. They keep moving and if they move towards you then it is a sign that wealth is on its way towards you. Catching them with spoon and eating them also increases your chances of receiving some unexpected extra money.
How about buying a lottery ticket after this? Please do not tell this scheme to anyone. Let this be a secret between you and me. It is imported from Greece.
Milk’s share in Food Superstition
Spilling the milk has some serious repercussions, first is the challenge of cleaning the mess. Second is the stench that is left behind. So for me, it is a superstition that was propagated to save everyone from these disasters, as well as food wastage. In some pastoral communities, lending milk to someone after sunset is inauspicious. This might lead to reduction of the milking abilities of the cattle.
Tea and its share
So this was really inevitable to include tea to this list of food superstitions after so much has been said about coffee. Adding milk to the tea before adding the sugar can increase your chances of staying single and unmarried. On the other hand, if you find undissolved sugar at the bottom of your cup then someone has a crush on you.
It doesn’t get over here. Spilling a tea is said to be an indication that someone will visit you soon. Also the tea-leaves can ward of bad spirits if scattered at the door step. How multi-purpose a drink could be. I am proud of it.
Bread the Judgment day Savior
This one is something worth noting. Food superstition or not but certainly this one is a good practice. It is from Russia and says that the bread that you have wasted in your entire life will be weighed after you die. The weight of that wasted bread will decide your entry ticket to heaven. More the bread, lesser are the chances of you reaching heaven.
This is that one food superstition which I would like to follow. Food wastage is a serious concern. So it should be followed globally and for all types of bread. Do you agree?
Curd and Sugar for a new beginning
Another one from India which I really love. Food superstition or not, but I love this because I like curd. So in India, you are supposed to eat sugar sweetened curd before going for any exam or starting something new. Especially those things which might make you nervous because of the stress.
Considering that curd is a good probiotic food, it improves your gut health. Curd also has a cooling effect on body and helps in managing extreme stress. So either superstitiously or scientifically, curd and sugar is your savior before the testing times.
Garlic the Vampire hunter
If you have seen old Hollywood stuff then you know by now how much precious Garlic is. It wards off Vampires and evil energies. People were forced to eat raw Garlic just to prove that they are not possessed. No matter how much we love garlic in our food, eating it raw is a nightmare. What do you think?
Garlic scaring away the ghosts is a food superstitions which has made people carry garlic, hang garlic to the door and what not. I hope it works, or else this is a wastage of such an amazing ingredient. What are your thoughts?
In many cultures it is believed that spilling salt is unlucky. It brings bad luck and so on. One of the oldest food superstition to exist till date. One good reason for this might be that, salt was expensive few centuries ago and wasting it by spilling would really bring bad luck. As the expenditure budget would be seriously hampered for the month.
Now some centuries later it was said that once you spill the salt, you should throw back some of the salt with your right hand across your left shoulder. This is where the devil stands and that salt blinds him and make him go away. See how simple it is.
Oranges are good for your Love“If you love someone give them oranges, and this will make that person fall in love with you.” Click To Tweet
“If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.” This is old and boring now, the next new thing is “If you love someone give them oranges, and that will pull that person closer to you.” So whom are you planning to feed oranges now? This shall give me insights on why I am still single at the time of writing this. I never offered oranges to anyone, as I do not eat them myself. Don’t laugh now!!!
Birthday Cake and the partying Ghosts!!!
This food superstition is from Greece, the Greeks celebrated the birthday of moon Goddess Artemis by making moon shaped honey cakes and putting the candles on the top. It is said that such celebrations always attracts bad spirits. So to sing “Happy Birthday” and blow the candles to ward off the bad spirits became a tradition more than any superstition.
Greeks were also the first to write “Happy Birthday” on the cake and the person who eats the written part was said to receive protection against evil energies and get positive powers. This sums up all the explanation for the modern day cake cutting tradition.
Rice and the weddings
All over the world, many places follow a tradition of showering the newlywed couple with rice grains. Throwing the rice grains symbolizes that you are giving them prosperity, wealth, happiness and fertility for their new beginnings. Some cultures believe that throwing rice grains will shoo away the bad spirits and keep the couple happy forever.
So you are free to call it a tradition of food superstition, it is widely practiced all over the world.
Grapes and the yearly predictions
Many countries around the world believe in this superstition of eating 12 grapes just in time before the stroke of midnight of the New Year. This is said to be auspicious and each grape will tell you about how each month of the year would be for you. A sweet grape means a good month for you and a sour grape means a rough month for you. So ensure that you buy a sweeter bunch of grapes for a year round good luck.
Eggs and the Food Superstitions
In some cultures, eggs symbolizes fertility and in most of cultures they are strictly a source of protein and energy. Lame jokes apart, this fertility fundamental led farmers to scatter the broken eggs into the field for a better produce of the crop. In some other culture if you find a twin yolk in an egg then someone you know is likely to get married or if already married, then they will be having twins.
See how multipurpose the eggs could be. Another legend says that after you break the egg shells then you are supposed to crush the egg shells. If you don’t do it then witches collect those egg shells and set sail in the sea to cause terrible storms.
Cracking the wishbone
This is Roman tradition which is more of a food superstition. It is a oddly-shaped forked bone of any bird. It started with two people pulling it apart after they have eaten the chicken. The one who ends up with the bigger half will have lots of luck in the near times to fulfill his/her wish. As the Roman Empire spread across Europe this superstition became famous, especially during the thanksgiving tradition.
Asian Food Superstitions
Long Noodles and Long life goes hand in hand
This one is from China, which says that breaking or cutting the noodles before cooking is equivalent to cutting your life short. So they cook the noodles whole and believe in slurping the noodles for that extra zing. Just to add to your knowledge, slurping is considered to be a good table manner in China.
So for Indians who are reading this, you know what to do with your Maggi now. For all other people around the world, I hope you already cook the noodles whole.
In Japan it is considered offensive to stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl. When mourning a dead, the incense are shoved in this manner and hence it is not a good thing to do while eating. You can slip them over your ears just to stand out from the crowd. What say?
The Lucky last piece
Do you know how we silently sneak in our hand on the last piece of pizza? Actually it is said to bring luck. At least in Thailand they have this belief. This doesn’t mean you should pace your eating speed accordingly. It should happen naturally.
Just a tip for you, if you are with your partner then allow him/her to have the last piece. This might not ensure luck, but his/her smile will compensate enough for it. Isn’t it?
The Lucky Number 12
How many fruits can you eat in one go? What is your personal best? I am asking because this food superstition asks people to eat 12 round fruits on the New Year’s Day. In Philippines it is said that doing so will bring you prosperity. Actually it signifies 1 for each month of the year.
I just don’t know if you can’t eat all 12 round fruits then what happens. Didn’t you get the same thought?
Chicken Wings make you Fly
This one is for students of Indonesia. It is said that children should eat Chicken wings so that they can fly overseas for further education. I am damn sure, very few students will refuse such an offer. Haven’t seen a more win-win situation than this.
So if you have a younger lad who is desperately trying to reach Europe or America for higher education, then I would recommend to send him to Indonesia first. Let him/her enjoy some amazing Chicken wings which can make his/her future bright. How is this idea? I know it is brilliant.
These were some famous Food superstitions from Asian countries. You can read the whole list here on this blog post from spoonuniversity.com. Here is a fun video where 24 people from different nationalities share some more weird food superstitions from the globe.
It won’t be inaccurate to assume that superstitions are as old as the first human civilization. There are food superstitions which grew out of proportion over the years. Some of them are really hard to digest and some of them were propagated to inculcate good food habits and avoid food wastage. So today when you look back, you laugh it out, and just revisit all the old memories where you kept hearing about all these food superstitions.
Now tell me was there any specific food based superstition which you grew up with? Let me know in the comments. I hope you loved this a tongue in cheek post which must have kept you glued till here. If you think it was worth it then please share with your friends and families. For any queries and concerns you can reach out to me at [email protected] or DM me at foodie_khiladi007.
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