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JEWISH NEW YEAR – WHAT’S THE STORY ?

MONDAY MORNING COOKING CLUB: Rosh Hashanah is Always About the Food

It’s a beautiful and delicious time for those of us celebrating Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) this month. The first day of the new year – the year 5780 on the Hebrew calendar – falls on Monday 30 September. 

This festival has great religious and cultural significance to many, but we – the Monday Morning Cooking Club girls – as always, focus on the other important aspect of Jewish festivals – the food. The two questions on everyone’s lips are ‘What are you cooking this year ?’ and ‘How moist is your honey cake?’

Like the title of our most recent book proclaims, it (truly) is always about the food. And it’s especially about the honey cake.

We celebrate for two days (the first two days of the year), which translates into (at least) two feasts, tables groaning with food, surrounded by family and friends. Some gather for a dinner on ‘new year’s eve’ and a lunch the next day, others do two dinners but skip the lunches, and some even do two dinners, two lunches plus honey cake breaks during the daylight hours. Whatever we do, however we celebrate, the food lures us to the table to sit together and have time to talk, to laugh, to argue and to celebrate another year.

The food we eat is often symbolic.

Honey is the number one ingredient at Rosh Hashanah to ensure that the coming year is sweet.

We start the meal with apples dipped in honey and end with honey cake. And it doesn’t stop there. We eat the traditional plaited bread, challah, studded with sultanas and specially shaped into a round loaf to represent the circle of life.  Monday Morning Cooking Club favourites gathered from around the world include slow cooked honeyed and buttery carrots (tzimmes), the softest beef brisket with potatoes, prunes and honey, a pickled brisket roasted with sweet golden onions and a lamb tagine with dates.

We love to bake moist and sticky honey cakes, soft honeyed biscuits in the shape of apples, crisp honey snaps, traditional bienenstich and the lightest tea-hued honey chiffon cake.

Each family has its own traditions but always with two common elements: sweetness in the food we eat, and sharing all this deliciousness with those we love.

 

Check out our complete Rosh Hashanah Menu Guide.

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