January 3rd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

While many of us were cramming our gullets on January 1 with Hoppin' John and collard greens for wealth in the New Year, many folks of Chinese descent like Chris Yeo, the chef/owner from XINO|SINO and The Straits, will be waiting to get lucky until the first day of the Chinese New Year celebration.

Lunar New Year is a special time of year for many. "Chi fan le mei you?" or "Have you eaten yet?" is the most common greeting heard during the celebration of the Spring Festival, also known as the Lunar New Year throughout the West. Many of the traditions of Lunar New Year center around food either being cooked or eaten. To people who trace their roots back to China, the most important date in the lunar calendar is New Year - it’s a traditional time for feasting with family and friends that dates back thousands of years.

"Lucky" foods are served through the two weeks of the Lunar New Year celebration. The Chinese like playing with words and symbols so often homonyms, or words that share the same pronunciation but have different meanings, are used. Names of dishes and/or ingredients that are served usually sound similar to words and phrases referring to wishes expressed during the Lunar New Year. Almost every dish has a symbolic meaning or name that sounds like a Chinese characters for fortune, happiness, longevity and prosperity.

The offering of food serves to bring ancestors and other beings in the other world closer to oneself. The food offerings serve as a bonding tool to bring both worlds together. To ensure good luck throughout the year, the Chinese also give a special name to each dish. For example, a dish made up of five elements of the same kind (meat or vegetables) might be called "the five blessings of the new year," referring to longevity, riches, peace, wisdom and virtue.

Five Lucky Foods for Lunar New Year: Chris Yeo

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Filed under: 5@5 • Asian • Bite • Chinese New Year • Cuisines • Holidays • New Year's • Tailgating • Think

Lunchtime poll – food resolutions
January 3rd, 2011
12:15 PM ET
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We mentioned earlier today that we've resolved to pop the cork, lid and casing on the edibles we'd been saving for a special occasion - especially if they are in peril of perishing. It's not about living luxe or overindulging, but rather appreciating what we have and honoring those who produced it.

Over at Salon.com, our friend Francis Lam has vowed to eschew cheap chicken. Chef and author Michael Ruhlman has dedicated the month to breadmaking, cookbook author and Meatless Monday advocate Kim O'Donnel calls our attention to a Wall Street Journal plea for 2011 to be The Year of the Vegetable and Epicurious Associate Editor Esther Sung has made a vow to live more simply, including making better choices at the market.

Read – Resolution 2011: Eat the good stuff

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Filed under: Buzz • Lunchtime Poll • New Year's • Resolutions

Box lunch
January 3rd, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • Just say no to cheap chicken. - Salon

  • Meet the invasivores: people who kill and eat invasive species. - New York Times

  • Food Network host Sandra Lee opens up about being New York's First Girlfriend. - NY Post

  • Let's have a toast for the chefs who actually cook! - Guardian

  • Make your food photographs look positively divine, dahling.– Wrightfood
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

January 3rd, 2011
10:15 AM ET
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Breakfast buffet
January 3rd, 2011
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday and the most delicious finds on TV.

It’s a breakfast! It’s a dessert! It’s National Oatmeal Month!

Lauded for its cholesterol-fighting abilities, oatmeal often takes the backseat to more exciting cookies (chocolate chip, sugar and peanut butter, for example) - but here’s the thing about an oatmeal cookie: it’s sweet and chewy, yet wholesome and filling. Gail Dosik of One Tough Cookie, Inc. even recommends bringing a batch of the whole-grain treat home with you when you’re introducing “the one” to your parents.

And in the breakfast arena, oatmeal continues to impress nutrition specialists and chefs alike.

“Oats also contain a lot of compounds and nutrients which help reduce diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, cancer,” said Katherine Tallmadge from the American Dietetic Association. “Being a whole nutritious food, it has so many benefits.”

To reap the maximum benefits, Tallmadge recommends preparing your oatmeal from scratch.

What's on TV?

Coffee klatsch
January 3rd, 2011
05:00 AM ET
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Pssst! Got a sec to chat?

We are utterly thrilled when readers want to hang out and talk – whether it's amongst themselves or in response to pieces we've posted. We want Eatocracy to be a cozy, spirited online home for those who find their way here.

Consider the daily Coffee klatsch post as your VIP lounge – the primary comments thread for readers who'd like to chat about topics not related to the articles we're running. That way, everyone knows where to find each other, and each post's comments section remains on topic.

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Filed under: Buzz • Coffee Klatsch

Resolved – eating well in 2011
January 3rd, 2011
03:45 AM ET
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Per author and former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, via Twitter, "Resolutions go in2 effect 2MORROW, yes? Since Jan. 1 and 2 fall on a weekend, Jan. 3d is the good-behavior starting point, RIGHT?"

I agree with the stave-off sentiment, but in 2011, I've got a particular "good behavior" mandate for myself that has nothing to do with incorporating more vegetables into my diet (if I do even more of that, I will actually become kale, and that'd make it hard to type), upping the cardio (that's a plan for a lifetime, not just a year) or cutting down on coffee (which would just make life suck for the people around me). It's not about self-deprivation - rather the opposite.

Call it carpe diem, gathering ye rosebuds or an ode to Erma Bombeck - I'm going to open some Amarone or olio novello on a random Tuesday, bust out the fancy Fortnum & Mason marmalade for a solo breakfast and eat that stunning tomato before it rots on the countertop. Good food and wine were meant to be consumed, it's a crime to waste them, and sorry to get all Stuart Smalley on you, but we're all worth it.

January 2011
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