Rosh Hashanah Feast for the Soul

By Paula Gottlieb Herman

     As you may remember from my first article on Rosh Hashanah last year, I mentioned that my mom died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah 2005, and that it is a scramble to figure out how to make holiday meals like she did, without her or her recipes to refer to. I only have two of her recipes written down, since mom was old school, and didn’t measure anything in the conventional way.

apple bowl with honey

     These days, I am working on projects about family legacy. So, believe me when I say, that this topic is always on my mind. To ensure that your family will still be able to make your signature dishes, please write them down. Go to Staples; buy a 3-ring binder, sheet protectors, page dividers, and start filling it up with your appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and special holiday recipes. Snap a few photos if you are so inclined, make some notations in your handwriting, and create another “Family Bible.”

    A few years ago I did a birthday party for a little girl from the Philippines. While meeting with the family to go over party details, I smelled some delicious aromas in the kitchen, and saw a binder such as this. My client pointed to grandma and told me the food in the oven was hers and that the recipes I was leafing through were also hers. My client made these binders for all of her siblings so that everyone could share grandma’s food now and again in the future. Whether for a birthday, anniversary, or holiday, these family members have the blueprint to recreate some amazing meals to honor their traditions.

       Rosh Hashanah starts our New Year off in the right direction. Just as we tell our kids that they need to eat breakfast to start their day, we can do more to ensure a better year ahead for our families.

    So, I did some research on some of the foods that can be added to a holiday table that might be omens for a good year. While the foods themselves aren’t enough to guarantee that good year, they’re worth considering. These foods are an indirect way to ask for health, happiness, and good fortune.

     I will be adding beets, carrots, couscous with seven vegetables, black-eyed peas, leeks, dates, and pomegranates to my menus. And, to put a new twist on a classic, I’m going to make a honey bowl out of a McIntosh apple. I’ll cut off the top, make sure the apple can stand up by taking a little off the bottom, hollow out the insides with a melon baller or spoon, and paint on a little lemon juice to prevent browning. Then, I’ll pour in some delicious golden honey, replace the apple top until ready to serve, and then dip in some crispy apple slices or soft challah.  From our family to yours, may a healthy and happy New Year be yours for the asking!