My friends and I have thrown some wacky dinner parties through the years. First prize would have to go to a “Dangerous Foods” party, in which the host served (to quote his invite) “food combinations which purportedly cause death, nausea, and general malaise,” with drinks and dishes inspired by an esoteric Burmese chart titled “The Food That Shouldn’t Eat Together”. A sampling of what we ate and drank (and survived): Pomelo and lime Caipirinhas, Chocolate Star Fruit cookies, and Cucumber Ice Lollies (lollipops).

For New Year’s Eve, another friend held a “Good Luck” party, based on her research from various daily newspapers, NPR,, and food blogs, on the dishes and ingredients meant to offer luck for the year. While I’m not a superstitious person (or, at least, I’m trying not to be one), I thought her menu was a fun and delicious way to incorporate dishes from various cuisines. A sampling:

-Zaru soba noodles served cold with a shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)-based dipping sauce
-Pickled herring with sour cream and onions
-Kale chips (she drizzled olive oil and sea salt over cut-up pieces of kale and roasted them on a baking pan for about 5-10 minutes at 400 degrees)
-Hoppin' John (a Southern dish of black-eyed peas and rice).
-Vasilopeta (a Greek cake baked with a silver coin inside for luck to whoever gets the piece with it)
-Doughnuts (She originally planned on making making Ollie Bolens, a Dutch New Year’s Eve sweet similar to a doughnut)
-Grapes (12 eaten at midnight)