Monday, September 7, 2009

Jewish High Holidays are Just Around the Corner

You don't have to BE a Jewish woman ...or be close to one, to you know what a crazy time of year this is. Just think of your most important annual festival feast and you'll get the idea. Days and even weeks before the event....who should I invite? who was here last year? what did I serve? should I stick to the traditional or try something new? how many will fit around the table? who can I borrow chairs/dishes from?...that's just the tip of the iceberg and I'm already exhausted.

The Jewish High Holy Days are less than two weeks away. In years past I used to do all the cooking and have all three big Rosh Hashanah dinners (bringing in the New Year with dishes to welcome a sweet and prosperous year ahead), and a Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement with a 24 hour fast and time for reflection) break fast feast with 10-20 people at our home. Here's a link to previous High Holiday dinner menus & recipes.

But the last couple of years, here in Halifax, with my daughter Joanna, her mother-in-law, Cheryl and, this year, her daughter Kayla ...we've broken it down to one meal for each of us to go crazy over. My turn is the second night of Rosh Hashanah
and I'm sure that Joanna (doing the first night) will make the traditional Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, passed down from generations of women in my family.

A short digression...don't you love the bowl? It was a gift to my Honey's mother from her new (at the time) husband - then a sailor who ordered it specially for her in China). The bamboo (for luck and prosperity) bowl is sitting on the fancy dishes my parents bought me more than 30 years ago. They only come out for very special occasions like this. Back to the menus....

Joanna is planning to serve my BBQ brisket recipe (I usually serve it for Hanukkah, will certainly be delicious...for the main course. And she'll be making her famous chopped liver as appetizer (because...naturally soup and a main course is not enough...just kidding). Neither of us want to make gefilte fish, something we love to eat, but are not particularly happy to make....although, this recipe was pretty tasty. It's served cold here with horseradish sauce to spice it up.

I do know that my main course will be St Tropez Chicken. Made with honey, herbes aux Provence and other wonderful ingredients to honor the tradition of enjoying sweet rather than spicy dishes to herald in the New Year.

But rather than make the same dishes over and over, I always look for something new to add to the tried and that end, there are Jewish cookbooks spread over every surface and I'll be trying out a couple of new soups, fish starters and desserts this week to see which will actually end up on the menu.

I'll keep you all posted, but I'm wondering...what IS your "special" holiday meal and what do you make?


Patsyk said...

The holidays always sneak up on me every year. I don't host for these holidays, my MIL still does it (for now)... whenever she tries to add something new (or replace a favorite dish), she is met with a lot of unhappy people. I love that you add to the traditional, but still keep them part of the menu.

Robin said...

Your menu sounds delicious. In addition to all the typical Ashkenazi holiday standards, no big holiday meal in our family would be complete without "Margie's Yams", a sweet potato souffle type recipe that's been a family favorite for over sixty years.

Have you posted that bbq brisket recipe anywhere? We divvy up dishes for our shared holidays and among other things I've got the meat course this year and would desperately like to force a change from pot roast.

Thanks, and shana tova to you and yours.

Ruth Daniels said...

Patsyk, enjoy your MIL's meals while you can, but perhaps get the recipes written down for later ;-)

Robin, thanks and a great idea to divvy up the dishes. The BBQ brisket is in my cookbook, but I think it's time to add it here in the holiday spirit.

Bellini Valli said...

Christmas Day is when we go all out with all of the traditional dishes. Enjoy your time with your family.

girlichef said...

I would love to attend one of these holidays!!! My holiday is's a total EVENT!!!!

Robin said...

Thank you so much, I just read the recipe and it looks wonderful!