Every culture the world over has food superstitions. These often arose from a misunderstanding of the natural world while also serving a practical purpose.
We’ve all heard how it’s bad luck to spill salt or how garlic keeps vampires away, but let’s look into some other bizarre food superstitions out there.
1. Never Cut Your Noodles
In China, it’s bad luck to cut your noodle (no, that isn’t a euphemism). Noodles symbolize long life so the longer your noodle, the better. By cutting your noodle, you are essentially cutting your life short, and nobody wants that.
2. Anything Can Happen With Two Yolks
Depending on what tradition you follow, finding two yolks in an egg can either mean you are going to be lucky, prosperous, fertile, getting married, having twins, or –you know – death. Pretty much covers all the bases now doesn’t it?
3. Are Those Fish Scales In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
A Christmas tradition in the Czech Republic includes placing fish scales under your Christmas dinner plate to bring wealth. Some go even further by carrying around a fish scale in their wallet for year-round prosperity.
4. Put The Pepper Down
If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to get hot pepper in your eye, you know just how excruciatingly painful it can be.
Saying that, never hand someone a hot pepper directly as it may cause arguments between the two of you. Just place it on the counter and let them take the liability upon themselves.
5. Never Bring A Banana On A Boat :::figure
And if you’re traveling on something called a “banana boat,” there’s no saving you. Photo: BlueEyedA73 / Flickr
There are numerous reasons bananas are considered bad luck on boats. For one, it is believed that if a banana or even an image of a banana (this includes Banana Boat sunscreen or clothing from Banana Republic) is on a fishing boat, the fish won’t bite, or worse, the ship will sink.
Historically, this could be because when ships carrying bananas would sink, they would be all that was left visible on the surface. Ships taking these quickly ripening fruit also had little time to fish and crates of bananas often carried with them venomous spiders and snakes.
6. Avoid Committing Tsukitate-bashi :::figure
Behold the proper way to rest your chopsticks. Photo: NicoleanJolie / Flickr
One common mistake many Westerners make while visiting Japan is leaving chopsticks vertically in rice. This habit is a major no-no because it resembles the incense that gets burned during funeral rituals.
7. Do Or Don’t Be The One To Spill The Wine
Nobody wants alcohol to go to waste. So, of course, it’s bad luck to spill wine. One way the Italians remedy this negativity is by dabbing a small amount behind their ear.
Incidentally, spilling wine on your new clothes is good luck, though I’m not sure it still counts if you break out the Tide To Go.
Of course, you could always take a page from the Romanians (and Tupac), who pour a little wine onto the ground for fallen homies.
8. Bread (and Butter)
Maybe those who are gluten-free just don’t like all the superstitions surrounding bread. If your spouse slices a loaf unevenly it means they’re lying. If there is a hole in your slice, someone close will die. If you don’t cross your buns the devil will ruin it, and if you want a good relationship with your mother-in-law I suggest you eat all four corners.
Bonus: Have you ever tried separating warm bread from melted butter after you’ve already spread it? Stop looking at me funny, it’s impossible, I know. Well if you and your partner are walking down a street and a pedestrian or something else comes between the two of you, say “bread and butter” three times to prevent any rift.