Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins this Sunday, Sept. 9. And, like any new year, it’s an opportunity to nourish ourselves with foods rich in symbolism.
In her 2004 cookbook Feast, celebrating the recipes and gatherings of life, Nigella Lawson describes how the Jewish New Year honors both the future as well as the richness of the past. The holiday table is full of meaning: The harvest of sweet fruits offer a taste of what’s to come, and golden challah, the roundness of time and future fullness.
"The important thing is that these foods, all the foods served, mean something,” she writes. "Even if many of those eating them have no real interest in their meaning: the custom is what matters.”
Curious to know what our own team makes to celebrate the sweet new year, we asked for their favorite Rosh Hashanah dishes, the foods they wait around all year for—to celebrate life and all the things that matter.
This year, I'll be making the challah, both plain and raisin, as well as apple pie. Raisins and apples are both big on Rosh Hashanah because they bring in a sweet new year. I’m also looking forward to my mom making my safta's (grandmother’s) cholent, but we use chicken, not beef.
I love the round challah, as well as the traditional apples and honey. But my favorite dish for every Jewish holiday—including Rosh Hashanah but not limited to it—is really good brisket.
We always have the classics at the table, including apple cake, quince paste, challah with apples or raisins, honey. But I also make a seared Branzino that's served over mandolin-sliced kohlorabi and dressed in olive oil, lemon, parsley, and sea salt with an abundant amount of pomegranate seeds mixed in.
We also bake fresh challah and while it's still warm place a thick slice of halva between too slices. The warmth melts the halvah a bit and it's delicious. Although, maybe not for everyone! I was raised on it, but I know my husband thinks halvah is the worst thing he's ever tried.
My dream Rosh Hashanah means: brisket, matzo ball soup, and honey cake. This year, though, I can’t stop thinking about a recipe I developed with another holiday, Hanukkah, in mind: parsnip latkes with apple chutney. The chutney would be a perfect addition to a cheese plate. Or a grilled cheese sandwich!
Are you celebrating Rosh Hashanah? What's on your menu?