Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year is coming up in a few weeks, the 14 September to be exact. Of course, being Jews we celebrate with food. My dad always says for Jews the traditional weapon is a knife and food and the national sport is eating! I know this applies to my Greek friends too.
I remember when we first started hosting Yom Tov (literally Good Day) meals for any of the Jewish holidays, we had 3 fish to start, Gefilte fish*, chopped Herring* and Danish herring*, growing up in a non-kosher home we also had chopped liver accompanied, of course, by kichel (sweet very thin type of biscuit). The next course was of course soup and kneidel* or *perogen. The next course was the meat course, which consisted of a meat dish and a chicken dish with salads and 3 veg. Lastly desserts, and this is usually not just ice-cream but something that took forever to make. Then I still made more food for the 2 lunches. *(explanations at the end of the blog)
Who knows what it cost? We certainly weren’t budget watching in those days.
Now I am very much more aware of the cost of everything, although I still try to have an open home for anyone who needs somewhere to go for Yom Tov, though dinner is now herring and fish (my kids would leave home if my mom didn’t make her Gefilte fish balls)! This is followed by soup and kneidel (tradition is tradition after all) and meat or chicken, never both, vegetables and salad. I do experiment with different ice-creams (non dairy and homemade) and a basic fruit salad. When we host lunches it is normally either fish or meat, not both.
So what happens when you can’t ask your guests to make something for this meal? Maybe they are not kosher, or maybe you have someone in your family who has allergies? I must admit that, aside from the kosher aspect, the main reason I don’t ask people to bring food is that I have a severe allergy, but also I think, I am a bit of a control freak for Yom Tov. So I usually ask everyone to bring drinks and if they are kosher then I ask them to bring salad.
I think this is the first year I have ever known what I am making so far in advance. I don’t know yet know how many people we will be having but it will be a minimum of 11 for the 2 suppers and 6 for the lunches as I know my family will all be here. There is a very great chance of more as I generally have an open house. Offering hospitality to guests is an important aspect of Jewish living and something we refer to in our morning prayers.
- Gefilte fish – literally stuffed fish if you are of German decent. If you are Eastern European decent then it is minced fish with onion and carrot and served either as balls or in a baked loaf form.
- Chopped Herring – minced herring with onion, boiled eggs and matzo meal served with kichel (sweet biscuits).
- Danish Herring – bite size pieces of herring in an onion, tomato and vinegar marinade
- Kneidel – Matzo meal balls cooked in either soup or salted water and served with soup.
- Perogen – pastry filled with mince, almost like a mini meat pie.
Happy cooking everyone!