A history of New Year’s Day


January 1 is considered New Years Day in today’s society. But this is a fairly new concept because up until the time of Julius Caesar, the Romans celebrated the New Year in March because it was the first month in the Roman calendar. However, January 1 marked the time when the Romans changed their government, and new consuls were inducted into office. And they had games and festivities to help celebrate the new officials. But they still used March 1 as their official mark of the new year and had a festival to their god, Mars (God of War).

It was Caesar who changed the Roman New Year’s day to January 1 in honor of Janus, (God of all beginnings and gate keeper of heaven and earth). Janus was always depicted with two faces: one looking back to the old year (past) and one looking ahead to the new year (future). One of the customs in honoring Janus was to exchange gifts, and make resolutions to be friendly and good to one another.

However, even in 1582, Great Britain and the English colonies in America still kept March for the beginning of the year. (Spring as a beginning?) It wasn’t until 1752 that Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar and January 1 as the new beginning. But many Puritans in New England felt Janus was an offensive pagan god and chose to simply ignore January 1 as a New Years Day.

How did New Years resolutions begin?

The custom of making New Year’s resolutions came into vogue in the 20 century. But most of it was done with jest and an understanding that they would not be kept (for long anyway) since humans were naturally backsliders by nature to their naughty habits and ways.

The resolutions today are simply a secular version of the religious vows made in the past toward spiritual perfection. They are often made with good intensions and broken with a sense of humor and renewed annually.

My resolutions this year will include eating more vegetables, more exercise, to be the best father ever, and as a cook to prepare more creative and health driven meals for my guests, friends and family.

So feast on a couple of great dishes to start YOUR New Year.

Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year.
Jan Jorgensen and Staff
Two Chefs Restaurant & Two Chefs Too, North Miami .

Black–Eyed Peas and tomato salad (black eyed peas symbolizing good luck in the new year).
1 head Romaine (torn into 1 inch pieces)
1 head butter lettuce (torn into 1 inch pieces)
2 cups cooked Black Eyed peas
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 pblano pepper
( roast all peppers in a 350 degree oven, peel and deseed and cut into 1Ž2 inch dice )
1 cup cooked wild rice 1 cup tomato concasse
1/2 cup julienne red onions

Tomato – basil dressing…
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes ( no skin and seeds )
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 soupspoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
A handful of fresh basil leaves
Fresh thyme
A pinch of Thai chilli flakes.
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until roughly blended….
To finish salad, combine salad leaves, peppers, rice, onions and Black Eyed peas in a mixing bowl, add tomato dressing, mix gently, and serve as an appetizer or as a dish to a larger buffet.

Chicken baked with chutney and Acorn squash.
2 lbs of your favorite chicken parts (my favorite is dark meat, but breast will do just fine, or a combo of the two)
2 small Acorn squash, quartered
1 cup chutney (a good Indian mango and curry chutney will be great)
Juice from 1 lemon
A splash of extra virgin olive oil
1 spoonful of honey
Sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Arrange chicken and squash in a roasting pan, spoon chutney over chicken, honey and lemon juice over squash. Splash the olive oil over both, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle thyme.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for aprox 1 hour, or until done. Arrange chicken and squash on a serving platter, spoon juices from roasting pan over chicken and squash and serve

For information visit www.twochefsrestaurant.com.

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