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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Cornue and Linda Lombri

Three Cheers for 2018!

We made it! It’s the first day of 2018…a day for old and new traditions. Watch Pasadena’s annual Tournament of Roses Parade on TV and make its 2018 theme of “Making a Difference” your own this year. Enjoy TV college football like the traditional Rose Bowl game or play a little touch football of your own, weather permitting. Most of all, gather with family and friends for more holiday food, toasts and resolutions (or intentions) for the coming year.

Add some traditional foods to herald in the new year like:

  • Greens -- kale, peas and collard greens -- to symbolize good luck and good fortune

  • Black eyed peas for good luck and prosperity (a southern U.S. tradition)

  • Lentils for good fortune (a custom in Chile and Italy)

  • Long noodles for long life (an Asian tradition)

  • Fish for abundance and moving forward

  • Pork dishes for wealth and prosperity

  • Pomergrante for long life and fertility

While champagne has become the go-to drink for New Year’s Eve, there are many other choices that can add a celebratory note to your New Year’s Day gathering. They include mulled wine (a Dutch tradition), English wassail (a cider-like punch), hot mulled, spiced apple cider, and crémasse (a creamy Haitian rum drink).

We’re happy to give you the recipe for Crémasse, a popular alcoholic beverage that has the sweet consistency of a milk shake. It’s usually served cold, accompanied by a sweet pastry or dessert like our BonBon Sirops. Both are featured in the Haitian section of our new and expanded Culinary Clues around the World 2.0.


1 can evaporated milk

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can cream of coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon anise extract

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup dark Barbancourt rum

Combine all ingredients except the rum in a blender and pulse on low until completely blended and slightly thickened to consistency of a milk shake. Add rum and mix thoroughly. Serve chilled over ice or at room temperature.

BonBon Sirop (Haitian “Brownie”)

2 cups (sticks) butter or substitute butter, softened

3 medium eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup dark molasses

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg, ginger and cloves

Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine butter or substitute butter, eggs, milk, brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Gradually add flour mixture to butter and egg mixture, beating with an electric mixer at low speed to a smooth, dough-like consistency. Spread onto a greased baking pan and bake 30-40 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cut into rectangular pieces.

Optional Glaze

1/3 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

1 tablespoon dark Barbancourt rum

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon orange zest

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, butter, and zest. Heat over high-heat for 10 minutes until mixture is caramelized into a thick syrup. Remove from heat and add rum. Pour glaze over Bonbon Sirop pieces.

Culinary Clues around the World 2.0 is part of the SANDRA TROUX MYSTERIES collection and features many of the foods enjoyed by the series' main characters as they sort out clues to the mysteries they encounter. All are available in eBook and paperback formats on Amazon. The eBook version is also available via Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

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