Top 10 Curious Culinary Superstitions
Top 10 Curious Culinary Superstitions
On Friday the 13th, myths of misfortune, superstition and conspiracy theories abound. To celebrate the day, we have gathered some interesting and curious myths from around the globe. But let's not be superstitious, it only brings bad luck...
No bananas on board. Sailors fear that the fruit will bring bad luck, reducing their catch or that they will be lost at sea. The origin of this superstition goes back to the Caribbean trade of the 18th century. The wooden sailing boats at that time had to be fast to deliver the bananas before they spoiled – but this made it difficult to catch fish on board.
Don't Fear Garlic
Garlic is said to ward off evil and vampires. Just hang it on your door or wear it around your neck. You are then protected from all evil, but perhaps not necessarily from evil glances.
13 is One Too Many at the Table
In France, it is believed that 13 guests at dinner is bad luck. There is even the belief that one person at the table will soon die. This myth has also made it into films and books: In Agatha Christie's detective novel Thirteen at Dinner, the good Lord Edgware was probably one too many. And Judas was also the 13th guest at the Last Supper – and we know how that turned out. Perhaps one should check the guest list again before the next dinner party.
However, it can also be dangerous to break bread. According to popular belief, the presence of large air holes in bread when it is cut open, means someone you know will die very soon. The hole in the bread is supposed to symbolise a coffin.
We knew that grapes give us delicious wine – but the Spanish also believe in the prophetic power of grapes. There, exactly twelve grapes are eaten on New Year's Eve. The taste of each individual grape reveals how the respective month will turn out in the coming year. If the fifth grape is sour, for example, you can prepare yourself for a bad May.
Oranges are also said to have a magical effect: it is believed that giving someone an orange will to help them fall in love.
Don't break any noodles: according to Chinese belief, the length of the noodles represents the length of one's life. Breaking or cutting the noodles reduces the length of your life. Whether you are superstitious or not, cutting noodles is considered a no-go in the Mediterranean anyway and would certainly elicit a "Mamma mia!" from one or two Italians.
If you spill wine in Portugal, you may even be applauded – it is said that this small faux pas brings luck to all the guests at the table. So, in purely mathematical terms, luck at the table should increase in proportion to the amount of wine consumed. In this country, it is even said to bring good luck if one or two wine glasses break. The saying "broken glass brings luck" is derived from Jewish weddings where the groom smashes a glass at the wedding ceremony –symbolising the destruction of Jewish temples – to ward off bad luck and call for good fortune. Mazel Tov!
The Trojan Parsley Donkey
If you ever get the unconventional idea of bringing parsley as a gift to a dinner party, don't: it is said to bring bad luck. Even the ancient Greeks considered parsley the sacred herb of death. According to legend, during a battle between Greek and Celtic groups, a cunning leader covered one hundred donkeys with the dreaded parsley and thus put the Greeks to flight.
In many parts of Europe, eggs used to be used to predict the future. Two yolks in an egg meant that a wedding would soon take place or that someone you knew would soon have twins. A black spot on a yolk was a bad omen – and an egg without a yolk meant the end anyway.
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