As I walked through the fruit and vegetable section of my local grocery store, I couldn’t help but notice the pile of oval shaped, deep purple Italian plums that were for sale. For weeks I had been buying deliciously juicy peaches and nectarines (of which every bite evoked summer), but it was impossible to ignore the dark color of these plums, which stood out against the bright oranges and reds of these other fruits, signaling the onset of fall. Aside from buying a few to eat that day, I knew I had to find a recipe that would highlight these fruits.
The meal that breaks the fast of Yom Kippur is one that is needed to revive the body after a long day of reflection and repentance, and the food which one eats to break the fast is an important consideration. The meal that is served after the fast should consist of dishes that are light on the stomach and easy to digest after this long period without food. Every community has their own traditions concerning the food that is usually served at this meal. Within the Ashkenazi community the fast may be broken with a dairy meal including things such as bagels and cream cheese or coffee cake.
After the celebration of the New Year and feasting on the many foods that make up a central part of its celebration, comes Yom Kippur and the time to fast. Despite the fact that this day is concerned with the abstention from eating, food still plays an important role in the observance of this holiday. One needs to fortify themselves with the proper food prior to the beginning of the fast in order to help sustain themselves through the day. Ideally foods should be filling and those that are salty or spicy are usually avoided so as not to cause excessive thirst.
As I may have previously mentioned, baking is one of my favorite things to do. When I first entered the kitchen, baking is what I began with. It came easy to me and I knew that if followed the instructions and measurements outlined in a recipe, the results would, more likely than not, turn out to be delicious. I have always felt more confident when it comes to baking and because of this it has become an activity that I try to do as often as possible.
The cannon of Jewish recipes is an extensive one that spreads across many places and generations. Many of the recipes contained therein have been cooked by generations of women with only small changes in the way they have been prepared. Many of these recipes have come to be viewed as traditional dishes, prepared on holidays, Shabbat and other special occasions. They have come to play an important role at these times and are often specifically associated with these occasions.
Honey is an integral element on the Rosh Hashanah table and in thinking about what to write about for my posts about foods to serve during the upcoming New Year celebrations, I knew I had to include a dish in which the main ingredient consisted of this golden sweetener.
I don’t quite know how it happened, but the nights are getting cooler and there’s that feeling of fall in the air. Summer is winding down and with that comes the reds, yellow and orange colors of the changing leaves, thicker sweaters and of course the High Holidays. With the New Year almost upon us, attention is beginning to shift to the upcoming celebrations and of course what will be served at the festive meals that will be part of the holiday.
Talking about food, about the recipes that we’ve tried and recipes that we want to try is often a topic of conversation when I’m with my family and friends. It allows us to share recipes for dishes that we’ve enjoyed and those that we think others would also enjoy. It gives us the opportunity to learn about new dishes or about new ways to make ones that we’ve previously tried. We get to share the stories that go along with the dishes, while at the same time allowing us to connect to our cultural and religious identities.