Chag sameach! That’s “happy holiday” in Hebrew because tonight is the official beginning of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashannah. It is a gorgeous ancient celebration, signified by the blowing of a ram’s horn (shofar) to mark a ten-day period of introspection and contrition leading up to the fast of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is a time for feasting and family, loaded with customs. For me it is a harbinger of autumn and one of my favorite days. Treats are consumed, particularly apples dipped in honey, because they are thought to signify a sweet year ahead. Babble’s ten best recipes for the Jewish New Year, whether you celebrate it religiously or just like to eat good food, are here.
1. Mandel brot: A specialty of Jewish grandmothers everywhere and very similar to Italian biscotti (mandel means almond and brot means bread in Yiddish).
2. Honey cake: Called lekach in Yiddish, a traditional Rosh Hashannah food that is excellent for breakfast and that children love to both bake and eat.
3. Brisket: A traditional Rosh Hashannah main course that’s homey, succulent, and great to serve a crowd. Here’s a braised version made with fresh tomatoes and a slow-cooker version made with root beer.
4. Sweet Potato Mash: An incredibly simple side dish that offers the natural sweetness that is customary on Rosh Hashannah and that pairs beautifully with brisket.
5. Donuts: In keeping with the sweet theme, many Jewish people like to eat donuts on Rosh Hashannah in hopes that they’ll bring a happy new year.
6. Looking for something new to try with apples? Bake this gorgeous puffed apple pancake.
7. Chicken soup is the ideal first course for Rosh Hashannah dinner: If you’re looking for a matzoh ball soup alternative, try this one with quinoa.
8. Great appetizer idea: Crudite with white bean dip which you can serve with warmed slices of pita bread or crunchy pita chips.
9. A vibrant and healthy side dish: Carrot ribbon salad (note: contains dairy).
10. For a different and modern main course, forget the roasts and try hoisin-glazed salmon.