After centuries of practice, many superstitious habits that originated in witchcraft, folklore and astrology can lose their meaning. Some are fun traditions regardless of their purpose, but others are downright frightening. Here are a few superstitions surrounding the most common foods in your kitchen.
You know it’s bad luck to spill salt, but do you know how to reverse it? You can save your soul by tossing a bit of it over your shoulder. This acts like pepper spray against the devil who might try to sneak up on you.
Did your New Year’s traditions bring you good fortune this year? If not, consider a new approach. In Spain, it is considered good luck to eat twelve grapes within the time it takes the clock to strike twelve on the New Year.
There are various ways to achieve this. Some cut up the grapes and consume them with a fork and knife, which is less fun, but at least it keeps you from looking like a fool. Others pack the grapes in all at once and try to swallow before the 12 seconds have passed. The major downside to this method is that if you swallow a seed, it may give you appendicitis. Not exactly the way you want to start the new year.
Another New Year’s superstition originates in El Salvador. You can tell your fortune for the coming year by cracking an egg into a glass at midnight of the New Year and leaving it by the window overnight. By the morning, it will form into a shape that will help you discover your fortune.
Here’s an easy breakfast hack: instead of a glass, crack that egg into a mug, and by morning you’ll be halfway done with a delicious omelette-in-a-mug.
The Chinese have established a few no-no’s for chopsticks. For instance, don’t stand your chopsticks upright in your food when you put them down. This too closely resembles the incense that burns at a funeral. If you don’t know this basic rule in chopstick etiquette, you might as well eat Chinese food with a fork and knife.
Secondly, never pass food directly between chopsticks because the Chinese pass the bones of the deceased chopstick to chopstick. This would be similar to digging a coffin-shaped hole in someone’s yard. It’s bad form.
Ever notice an X carved into a loaf of bread before it is baked? That is a handy trick to keep the devil from sitting on it. Beware of uncrossed bread — it might be acting as an armchair for an evil spirit, resulting in spoiled or even a cursed loaf.
This one is especially important during hurricane season. If you do not crush the shell of an egg after it is cracked, a witch can construct a boat from the pieces, sail out to sea and whip up a mighty storm.
One food superstition I’ve encountered stands out above the rest as the most terrifying. Sniffing basil, according to the ancient Greeks, may result in a scorpion inside your brain.