New Year’s Food Traditions Part 2
In looking through notes I took years ago on special occasion foods, I came across an interesting Japanese tradition. Japanese Americans make mochi (sweet rice) cakes for New Year’s. The rice made me think about the historical links in which Asian traders introduced new species of rice to Africa long before the start of the African slave trade. For folks from the low country U.S. south there is no New Year’s celebration without rice based hoppin John (and rice pudding). Likewise Mochi cakes, made from layers of sweet rice steamed and shaped into cakes and seasoned, sometimes with coconut, represents the yearly culinary high point for people of Japanese heritage.