Monday, September 25, 2006

Special Food for Rosh Hashannah

Rosh Hashannah is beginning to rival Pesach (Passover) as the most food-oriented holiday in Judaism, the most culinary religion of all.

When I was growing up, I only knew of the honey for dipping apples; though I don't remember ever having any apples dipped in honey.

This year, though I filled the honey jar with honey, we didn't use it. The honey was hard, so my husband decided to sprinkle sugar on the challah, which freaked out our guests who were sure they were getting highly salted challah, while pointing anxiously at the honey jar. And the good news, was that the few granules of sugar contain far fewer calories than honey! I guess he'll just have to buy some runny honey, since we honey our challah until Simchat Torah, the end of the holiday season.

And now for the fruits...

We always have "new" fruit on the second night of Rosh Hashannah for the
Shehechiyanu Blessing, which is said the first time you eat a fruit of the season, or the first time you wear something new. It is also said on special infrequent religious experiences, such as a father at the circumcision of his son.

Rosh Hashannah is the only two day holiday. Jewish communities abroad (not in the Holy Land) celebrate all of the holidays as two days, but the second day has a different status. Rosh Hashannah is two consecutive separate days. Yes, it's strange, and I'm not competent to go into details of why.

Since we have to say the Shehechiyanu blessing both days, we look for other reasons on the second. That's when some people make a point of wearing new clothes, and it's also very common to have a "new fruit, " one which hadn't yet been eaten during the season.

We generally have pomegranates and clementinot, a citric fruit, which you can see in "Blondie, the fruit head." I've been making fruit "heads" for Rosh Hashannah since I was a vegetarian for 25 years.

This year we ended up eating the pomegranate the first night, since we were at friends. Then one of our guests (first lunch) brought us fresh figs, which were delicious, so I couldn't wait and ate them immediately. So we ended up eating the horrid clementina, which won't get sweet until the first rain, but that's another story...

Have a wonderful year.

Gmar Chatima Tovah!

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