13 Kitchen Superstitions Plus One

Friday 13 rubber stampLook out! It’s Friday the 13th and you know what that means: bad luck. Or at least that’s what the superstitious among us may think. But the kitchen is not immune to the influence of old wives’ tales and superstition. Though they vary from place to place, depending on culture, food superstitions might just be one of the things kitchens around the world have in common.  Check out our list of crazy kitchen superstitions from near and far.


Have you ever seen Grandma throw a bit of salt over her shoulder? That’s because spilling salt is considered to be bad luck, and the remedy is to toss a pinch of it over your left shoulder. Not only that, but in Greek lore it’s believed that if you sprinkle salt behind an unwanted guest, it will cause the person to leave.


In parts of China, long noodles are believed to symbolize long life. So, it’s considered bad luck to cut noodles when eating.

Knives & Hot Peppers

It’s been said that you should never hand a knife or a hot pepper to someone, or it will cause strife in the relationship. Rather, set the items down for the other person to pick up. We don’t know about strife, but at least in the case of the knife, it’s probably safer.


Sure, you knew it would keep the vampires away, but did you also know that European folklore holds that garlic will ward off the “evil eye?”

13 Dinner Guests

In France, it is long believed to be bad luck to have 13 guests for dinner.  So serious are the French about this that they are known to hire a professional dinner guest, known as a quatorzieme, to round the number to 14. Quatorzieme literally means “fourteenth.” How do we get that job?


European bakers often cut a cross in the top of their rustic loaves of bread. It stems from the belief that the mark would keep the devil from sitting on the loaf and causing it to fall.  We don’t know about that, but it’s probably a good idea to make sure your yeast or baking powder is fresh!


Bananas have long been associated the bane of boats. Fishermen and sailors believe them to be bad luck to have on board.


Need to keep the witches at bay? A pot of rosemary at your door is said to do the trick.  We must concur, as we have a pot of rosemary and we’ve never had any trouble with witches at all!


While undissolved sugar at the bottom of your teacup means someone is in love with you, that good fortune may be quickly dashed if you put milk to your tea first.  Legend says that love never comes to those who add milk before sugar.  So stir, stir, stir your sugar until it’s all dissolved… and then add the milk.


After cracking an egg, one must crush the eggshell.  Otherwise a witch will come, collect the pieces, construct a boat and wreak havoc on the seas.  That must be one tiny witch!

So right about now you are shaking your head at all of these silly superstitions from far-off lands.  Don’t think we fall for that sort of thing? What about these…


It’s pretty common knowledge that it’s good luck to throw rice at newlyweds. These days, this has given way to bubbles, birdseed, and the like. But still, you knew what we were talking about, right?

Birthday Cake

And who doesn’t try to blow out all of those birthday candles in one breath? We know we do. Every time. Because that’s the only way our birthday wish will come true. The good news is, even if we fail, hey there’s cake!

Black-Eyed Peas

Also in the good luck department are black-eyed peas, traditionally consumed on New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year.

And because we don’t want any sort of French bad luck, we felt it appropriate to add one extra superstition to round out our list at an even 14…


Last, but certainly not least, the wishbone from our Thanksgiving turkey.  Whoever gets the big side will have her wish granted, so it’s game on once the bird has been carved, right?