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Break the Yom Kippur Fast With These Sundown Salads

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Yom Kippur, for me, has always been a somber affair. At a time when I should be practicing hindsight and reflecting on the previous year’s undoings, I find myself anxiously awaiting sundown in fast-induced stupor. To abstain from eating, we are taught, is to calibrate our bodies to some preternatural rhythm. We chase reflection and introspection through momentary hunger. While the practice is well-meaning and the thought pure, I’ve found myself in many a Yom Kippur service focused only on my break fast meal. But the purpose of Yom Kippur, to pine the previous year for acts that deserve penitence, can actually prove fruitful. And while many advise against dwelling, Yom Kippur posits that a backwards glance is in order.

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Mother-daughter duo Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman have internalized this ethos in their cookbook, The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine. They've plumbed their family history for the foods of their past and tell it through recipes. Through stories of prosperity, community, isolation, and displacement they've recreated the tastes of their family’s kitchen. Their work solidifies the existence of recipes on the brink of nonexistence, culled from flaky scraps of paper and fast-fading memories.

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With Yom Kippur fast approaching, their recipes feel particularly cogent. Jewish High Holy Days happen as the brisk breeze of fall starts to interrupt otherwise languid afternoons; stuffy synagogue attire often feels a tad profuse. To match this moment of transition—both spiritual and temporal—try your hand at these end of summer salads. They are light and tangy, but substantial. Better yet, they require simple preparation, so you can make them ahead of time, store them in the fridge, and pull them out at sundown, a colorful adornment for your break fast table.

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Green Bean Salad with Summer Savory

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman
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Serves 8
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, washed, ends trimmed, and left whole or cut in half or bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried summer savory
  • 1/2 small red or sweet white (such as Vidalia) onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Ground black or white pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored or olive oil
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Herring Salad

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman
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Serves 8-12
  • 12 ounce jar pickled herring and onions, or freshly pickled, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 6 tablespoons chopped (1/4 inch dice) dill or half-sour pickles
  • 3 medium size waxy potatoes steamed, peeled, cooled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 crisp tart apple, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
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30cb7ad4 3957 447b b1d4 3d9fafbd7c3b  2017 0926 beet celery root and watercress salad bobbi lin 4436

Beet and Celery Root Salad with Watercress

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman
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Serves 8
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 pound beets (about 3 medium)
  • 1 pound celery root (about 2 medium)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • A few grinds of white or black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 raw egg yolk (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons neutral-flavored or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or scallions
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How do you break fast on Yom Kippur? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: yom kippur, salads, break fast