Yom Kippur

Challah: Getting in Shape for Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashana is all about crowning God king. Which is one reason we make round challah bread, which symbolizes a crown. Round foods also symbolize the lifecycle, something eternal and never-ending. The circular shape also expresses our wishes that the coming year not be broken by tragedy. But now we’re coming to Yom Kippur, the …

Rosh Hashana

Brisket: No Matter How You Slice It

A succulent brisket on a cutting board, half sliced

This is the final post before Rosh Hashana. In earlier posts, I talked about traditional vegetable dishes and baked goods. Now it’s time to talk brisket. In our house, we’re having brisket three ways for the holiday. After all, it’s a three day event this year: two days of Rosh Hashana immediately followed by Shabbos. …

Rosh Hashana

Mandelbrodt By Any Other Name

The Italian wine Vin Santo with its traditional food pairing of Biscotti

Almonds and dishes containing them are very popular for the upcoming Rosh Hashana holiday, which always makes me think of mandelbrodt (literally “almond bread”). One reason almonds are popular is that they have a separate Hebrew name “shaked” (SHA-kedd). The generic word for nut is “egoz,” which has the same numerical value as the word …


High (Holiday Matzoh Ball) Anxiety

High Holiday Matzoh Ball Anxiety

People worry too much about making matzoh balls to the point that they *shudder* use a mix for what is probably the easiest thing in the world to make other than toast, or perhaps boiled water. With the holidays coming up, it’s time for a review. It’s less about amounts and more about using your …

Rosh Hashana

Leeks: Poor Man’s Asparagus


You’d be mistaken for thinking that the only seder is the Passover seder. There’s the seder for Tu B’Shvat, when we eat a selection of items from the earth’s bounty and recite relevant passages from the Torah. And there’s also the Rosh Hashana seder when we eat specific foods, the Hebrew names of which are …


Lebkuchen for Rosh Hashana

Lebkuchen for Rosh Hashana

Last week this space spoke of sweet Sfardi almond cigars, as a treat appropriate for the High Holidays. Now the Ashkenazim are demanding equal space. The problem is, many people really don’t like plain old boring honey cake. So (don’t) give them cake! Give them Lebkuchen, which are a chewy cookie bar with a glaze. …


Sweet Almond Cigars–You Don’t Smoke ‘Em

almond cigars

The Hebrew Scriptures mention almonds ten times, the first mention being in Genesis, where the almond is referred to as “among the best of fruits.” Maybe that’s why the seven-branched candelabra used in the Temple was designed to resemble almond branches topped with blossoms. Also, the almond tree is the first tree to bloom in …


Chraimeh: Not Your Bubbe’s Gefilte Fish


All week long, Jews of modest means wait for the Sabbath when all manner of delicacies are served. As one popular Shabbat zemer goes, the Sabbath “is a time to delight in all kinds of pleasures: fatted geese, quail, and fish.” The more, the merrier. Ashkenazi Jews often ate gefilte fish on Shabbos, because fish …