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Bread Bubbles and Broken Noodles: 7 Bad Luck Food Superstitions

Young girl eating a bowl of steaming hot noodles with chopsticks.
Phawat/Shutterstock

Friday the 13th is upon us, which means bad luck is around every corner and under every ladder—that is if you believe in such matters. Want to play it safe if you do? Here are 7 food superstitions to keep in mind.

Don’t Break or Cut Noodles in Half

Chinese culture has many good luck traditions, which also brings a few bad luck superstitions into the mix as well. In many cases doing one thing is said to bring great fortune but doing that thing incorrectly isn’t just lacking in fortune but will bring back luck your way. The way certain foods are handled or consumed may bring a shocking or serendipitous fate upon you.

In some regions of China, it is believed that long noodles signify living a long life, and if eaten, you will be privileged with good health and good luck.

But, you guessed it: break or cut those noodles into smaller pieces, and you cut your life span short too. So, be sure to eat those noodles in one piece; otherwise, lousy luck is on your horizon.

Air Bubbles In Your Bread

Next time you purchase or bake a fresh loaf of bread, we hope there aren’t any big air bubbles inside. While it’s normal for small air bubbles to form inside of a loaf of bread, a large one suggests a bad omen.

Finding a sizeable hollow space inside your bread means the death of a loved one, as the hole represents a coffin. So next time you plan on making bread, be sure to knead your dough correctly.

Devilish Spilled Salt

One of the most notorious food superstitions, of course, is spilling the salt. Many know that if you knock over the salt shaker, you can quickly remedy that very unlucky state of affairs by throwing a dash of salt over your left shoulder.

Why throw it and why over your left shoulder? In some cultures, there is a long-standing belief that helpful spirits or angels are to the right of your body and demons (or even the Devil himself) are to the left. Other cultures have a superstition that the very act of spilling the salt has a magical power that rouses these forces. Therefore, tossing the salt over your left shoulder will blind the creatures that mean you harm.

Some believe that you must crawl under the table and through to the other side to ensure misfortune doesn’t burden you. So, be sure to ward off evil and bad luck next time you accidentally knock over the shaker.

Bananas Don’t Belong on Fishing Boats

Harry Belafonte may have created a permanent association between boats and bananas with his 1956 hit “Banana Boat Song (Day O)”, but let’s be clear about one thing. Bananas can go on banana boats because the purpose of a banana boat is to transport bananas, but as far as many seamen are concerned that’s the only place on the water they belong.

Bringing bananas onto a fishing boat is a big no-no, and if you do so, that yummy yellow fruit will likely find itself heaved overboard when it is discovered by a superstition crewmember.

It certainly isn’t uncommon for fishers to be very superstitious, especially because streaks of luck bring in plenty of delicious fish and seafood (and streaks of bad luck on the open sea are very bad indeed). One very long-standing belief (especially on crab boats) is that you should never bring a banana aboard.

From worries over mechanical breakdowns to reeling in no fish, the humble banana is a bad omen and you will be asked to keep away from the ship until you are free of all things banana.

13 Dinner Guests with Bring Lousy Luck

The association between the number 13 and ill fate dates back centuries and many superstitions include the number. Not only does 13 have a rough reputation in regard to floors and apartment numbers, it extends to the dinner table. When it comes to the world of food and dining, be sure to count your guests before serving dinner.

Thirteen guests attending your dinner party will bring bad luck. So if you want your feast served on time, not burnt, but fully cooked, be sure to take part in a proper headcount.

For the Sake of Love, Never Add Milk Before Sugar

If you have big plans for a big wedding in your future, then be very careful when mixing hot tea. If you add milk before the sugar, it is implied that you will never marry or be you will be unlucky with love in general.

However, if sugar in your tea doesn’t properly dissolve, this could mean someone is in love with you. Accidently spilling you brings good luck too, so no worries there.

Dropped Tortillas Means a Visit From the In-laws

This may (or may not) be bad luck—It all depends on how you feel about an unexpected visit from your in-laws.

Dropping your tortillas is all it takes for that sudden drop-by. So if you aren’t fond of your spouse’s parents, be sure to keep a firm grip on those tortillas. Otherwise, you’ll be sharing your quesadilla dinner with them.

Otherwise, if you love those unicorn in-laws, the only setback is that you’ve spoiled a perfectly good tortilla.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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