So it’s New Year’s Day and your head is pounding like some kind of jackhammer is going off inside it and it seems to be superglued right there to the pillow. As you try and pry your eyes open there are mini-explosions of light that cause you to blink and wipe away the inevitable grit that formed during the night. As you lay there contemplating just what went on the night before you just might find that your memory is clogged and all the Liquid Plumber or Drano in the world would have a hard time making a dent in the logjam that was once your brain.
As you continue to lay there and pray for more sleep you start trying to reconstruct the events that might have transpired. First and foremost you wonder “Did I make an ass of myself?” and slowly come to the realization that if you don’t remember, you probably did. As you continue to try and force yourself back to sleep you realize that details of the night before remain sketchy at best and seem to come out at you in vague snippets like parts of a fractured play. It feels as if you’re caught in an episode of Twin Peaks or are an extra in Fellini film and for reasons you can't seem to comprehend, you can actually can make sense of a Dali painting.
Yes, you crave the safety of sleep and all the comfort it brings but there’s something, something emanating from the kitchen that causes your nose to twitch and your stomach to rumble and you gather a few of your remaining senses together and decide to see for yourself exactly what’s keeping you awake.
I’m a little embarrassed to say “Been there, done that” but with a little prior planning and a tip of the cap to the Pennsylvania Dutch and their tradition of having pork on New Years and with a little tinkering here and there, you too can make yourself and your loved ones a feast fit for a king and all those that surround him.
There are a couple of theories about how this tradition came about. One is that the Dutch believed (and from what I can tell, still do) that New Year’s Day was a time for looking forward. Since a hog or a pig aren’t biologically engineered to turn their heads around to see what was behind them, they became the ideal meal of choice. After all, when a chicken scratches its legs it throws everything behind it and there’s no sense looking back. Sounds reasonable if you ask me….
The second theory is that since pork is a pretty fatty piece of meat to begin with and in the days old, before the craze of dieting began to take hold, fat was symbolic of prosperity and that you should start the New Year’s off with the hopes of being prosperous.
I don’t know where the sauerkraut got thrown in but hey, I can tolerate it a couple of times a year.
I’ve adapted this recipe a bit to suit our friend, the crock pot.
Here’s what you need…
1 four or five pound pork roast (I’ve tried it with spareribs but they fall apart)
2 large cans of sauerkraut
1 medium sized onion
A cup or so of brown sugar
A couple of potatoes – cut in quarters
Here’s what you do…
Throw all that shit in the crock pot and stuff it in the refrigerator. When you finally get home from whatever festivities you attended the night before, pluck it out and plug in and set it to low.
Get some much needed shuteye.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll sleep for anywhere between eight and ten hours and thanks to the magic of the modern kitchen, you’ll have a delicious meal just waiting for you to dive into when you get up.
Between the tenderness of the pork, the flavor of the sauerkraut and a bit of the hair of the dog, you should be good to go in no time.
Happy New Year!