A Sweet Year

15 Sep

Last week I celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I was fortunate that I was able to spend the holiday with my family in Texas. After you have grown up and moved out on your own, it’s always nice to come home to your family – especially at holiday time. For those of you who don’t know, we observe Rosh Hashanah by attending services at synagogue and as with most holidays, there is a big meal to follow. Growing up, we always had our Rosh Hashanah meal as a late lunch (think Thanksgiving day) and we have continued the tradition throughout the years. As I’ve been to other friends’ homes over the years, I have come to understand that our late lunch is unique and many people do dinner instead.

It is customary to eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah because it symbolizes our wish for a ‘sweet’ New Year.

We also eat challah, while it is typically shaped like a loaf, during Rosh Hashanah it is in a round shape.

Other than these Jewish traditions, the food of the holiday is as you wish. As I’ve mentioned before, my family is very considerate of my vegetarianism and you will see that reflected in the spread we had. Appetizers included a variety (about 5 or 6 types) of cheese and crackers, as well as hummus and pita chips.

Let’s just state the facts up front – there was no shortage of salads, nor was there a shortage of food! We had a Caprese salad, which is one of my newer favorite dishes. The mozzarella we used was the smaller shaped balls and the tomatoes were yellow and grape tomatoes, which we cut in half – so everything was bite sized, no knives were necessary! We had a chopped salad with a variety of delicious toppings such as olives, hearts of palm and peppers with sherry vinaigrette dressing. We served grilled tuna and blue cheese crumbles on the side for those that wanted extra protein in their salad. A fresh spinach salad also made an appearance, which included dried cranberries and kalamata olives. Chicken and egg salad also made cameos at Rosh Hashanah lunch, although I didn’t eat either – I heard they were both excellent.

There was also a great amount of vegetables – grilled veggies consisting of squash, zucchini, asparagus, eggplant and roasted red peppers and two types of green beans – all of which made its way on my plate(s)!

As you can imagine, I was extremely full after this hearty lunch. There was quite the array of desserts, but unfortunately on that day -I couldn’t possibly eat any more!

It’s always so wonderful to be back at home, spending quality time with family during holidays. I am hoping that the new year is filled with happy and healthy things for my family and friends.

What are your traditions at holiday time with your family? If so, which ones do you most enjoy?


8 Responses to “A Sweet Year”

  1. Leah G September 15, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    i miss grandma’s knishes (at rosh and all other special times of the year). fortunately for us, ben still has some frozen in his freezer!!

    it was a delicious meal and a wonderful holiday with you home! xo

  2. Candy September 15, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    I love cooking for the holidays and spending quality time with my family and friends. Also, the food this year was incredibly spectacular with enough leftovers to feed a small army!

  3. Adrienne September 15, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Ben still has some of Grandmaws knishes?? OMG I loveee those!!!!!! Maybe we can coax my mom into making some for break fast? We had such a nice dinner at Tia Arlenes the night before apricot chicken with veggies, couscous, and kugel (from Central Market). But it was delish! Can’t wait to spend Yom Kippur with the family in Austin. It’s always so nice to spend it with the family!

    • Leah G September 16, 2010 at 9:52 am #

      YES!! he still has some! and YESSSS she neeeeeds to make knishes! it’ll make fasting that much better. 😉

  4. Leah September 16, 2010 at 5:58 am #

    We always had a similar style lunch at my cousin Stefani’s. But my family of 5 always did dinner together the night before, usually with my grandparents. Since I haven’t been able to return to Houston, my cousins Ross and Myra (Adrienne’s Uncle) have been nice enough to host me and my friends for dinner the night before and took me to lunch on the day. It’s always nice to have family out of Houston to take good care of you too.

  5. Margo September 16, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    Rachel! This was my first year hosting Rosh Hashanah dinner. It was just me and Dave and his parents, but we had fun. It is really nice that they live so close to us. For dinner I made my grandma’s “apricot” chicken recipe, apple/cabbage cole-slaw, spinach salad with candied pecans, cous cous pilaf and broccoli. For dessert I made a plum tart.

    It’s fun reading your blog. Happy New Year!

  6. Tracey @ TropicalHappiness September 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    Happy Rosh Hashanah to you! I found your blog on the healthy living blogs site for South Florida and just wanted to stop by and say hello!
    There is nothing quite like being at home with family during holidays… such a great feeling!

  7. Ashley September 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    This post makes me wish I were Jewish! 🙂 The honey and apples and challah look amazing. The challah makes me think of the S&TC where Charlotte had the girls over to make challah.

    That’s great that your family is considerate of your chosen lifestyle. Whether it’s vegetarian or another special dietary consideration, not all families are as supportive, especially if the new way you eat isn’t how you were raised. My family is supportive of the way I eat for the most part, but now that I live so far away, it tends to be more indulgent when I do see them anyway, so everyone is happy.

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