A twist on tradition for Jewish New Year

Certain dishes expected for holiday

But caterer is relying on a sweeter spin for her festive meal.

By H.M. Cauley For the AJC

Some dishes are so strongly tied to holiday traditional that they have to be present to make the celebration complete.  Would it be Thanksgiving without stuffing and cranberries, or Christmas without cookies?

Those who are marking Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown Friday, will find a range of traditional dishes gracing the table. 

Along with being favorites, they also incorporate symbolic meaning, so a feast without them would be unthinkable.  That’s the case with honey.

“Honey is especially significant because it symbolizes a prayer for a sweet year,” caterer Annette Marcus said. “There’s a specific prayer you say over the honey as everyone dips a piece of apple into it and eats.  There’s also a blessing over the bread and another over the wine.”

For her celebration, Marcus usually prepares a brisket, kugel with noodles, rolled cabbage, kasha, chicken soup with matzo balls and a round

braided challah.  But this year, she’s mixing some zing into the tried-and-true favorites.

Instead of an apple or honey cake, she’s blended apples, nuts and brown sugar into a strudel. Instead of a brisket with traditional gravy or  ketchup and onions,
image[1]she’s added apricots, plums and apples to the juices. And in place of the traditional chicken soup that everyone’s expecting, Marcus has substituted a sweet cabbage borscht flavored with brown sugar and gingersnaps.

“You do want to eat sweet things, so I came up with recipes that represent the sweetness of the new year,” she said.

In addition, Marcus’ recipes are easily made kosher. “Just buy kosher meats or substitute margarine in the strudel if you don’t want to eat dairy after a meat course,” she said.