The abundant fruits and vegetables available for Rosh Hashanah, the meals before and after the Yom Kippur fast, and for Sukkot provide not only healthy nourishment, but also the expression (through their symbolic significance) of our hopes and prayers for the year ahead. The dishes that follow all contain symbolic foods and would be appropriate for the above-mentioned holiday meals. Remember to consider using less salt before the Yom Kippur fast and to choose make-ahead options to serve for breaking the fast and meals in the sukkah.
Many of the special holiday foods are mentioned in the Gemora and are related to prayers that begin "Yehi Ratzon…", "May it be Your will…" asking G-d to ordain certain conditions.
This month is full of holidays calling for celebratory meals and special symbolic foods; we even have to plan for Yom Kippur, after which we’ll convene to break the fast. In this month’s column I’m sharing recipes for two delicious salads that would be perfect as part of a Rosh Hashanah meal, a break-the-fast buffet or as offerings featuring harvest foods for Sukkot. The sweet beets and honey in the first salad call to mind our wishes for a sweet year ahead. In addition, the Hebrew word for beet, “silka” sounds like “siluk”, the word for “removal”—we hope our adversaries will disappear in the year ahead. You can vary the veggies in the second salad according to what the harvest has yielded at the time you make it. It can even be prepared a couple of days ahead, making it perfect for after Yom Kippur.
We have almost until the end of September to prepare for Rosh Hashanah this year, although as Rabbi Taff always says, the holidays aren’t late—they are always on time! For this year’s celebratory meals I am sharing two dishes to serve before it’s time for dessert (both red, coincidentally) and a new twist on honeycake.
Beets are served around the world for the holiday because they are naturally sweet. In addition, the Hebrew word for beet, “silka” sounds like “siluk”, the word for “removal”—expressing hope that our adversaries will disappear in the year ahead. There’s no question about why honey is a favored ingredient for High Holiday meals and for dipping apples and yom tov challah.
October brings more opportunities to celebrate the New Year with traditional fare. It amazes me that after so many years of teaching and writing about Jewish cooking, I learn something new while preparing each Scroll article. The bread recipe I am sharing this month is made in a way very much like my challah recipe that many MLC members have enjoyed over the years. The bollo is so delicious and delicately sweet that it’s the perfect way to break the Yom Kippur fast. In my research I read that in some parts of the Mediterranean world it is served in the living room as soon as people return from services. (I admit that in the past I have had some of my fruited challah in the car to sustain me on the way home; now I am looking forward to a new treat!)
This year Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the beginning of Sukkot all fall within the month of September. As usual both Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions provide delicious dishes to help us celebrate and highlight the reasons for doing so. Here’s wishing everyone a sweet and happy New Year filled with many reasons to celebrate!