This week, we went from two days of Rosh Hashana right into Shabbat, which means there were two extra days of Shabbat-quality (and quantity) eating. It’s a cliche to expound on how Jewish holidays are centered around food, but they are, and it’s wonderful. And there’s no way I could write about Shabbat food this week without talking about our Rosh Hashana meals, too.
Wednesday night I had to work, but it really was a pleasure to celebrate with the Grad Network community. Thursday night, though, was the main event for us, with a carefully thought-out menu, multiple courses, good friends, a beautifully set table, and a massive amount of food. It’s true, I really don’t know how to cook for a single-digit number of guests.
On the first night of Rosh Hashana, when we say kiddush (the blessing over the wine), we also say the shehechianu, the blessing for new things, holidays, and other momentous occasions. It makes sense to say the shehechianu on the first night of Rosh Hashana: it’s the first time on this holiday in this year. But tradition dictates we say it on the second night as well, so our ancestors decided in order to justify this blessing, we should have new fruits on the table when we say it.
“New fruits” is usually understood as “fruits you haven’t eaten in long enough to be able to say this blessing over them,” but we like to challenge ourselves to eat fruits we’ve never eaten before, and this year, we challenged our guests to help us find such things. Marc bought a red pear, Belina brought the cutest little purple peppers, I put a tiny CSA pumpkin on the table, and Josh brought my usual new fruits choice of concord grapes. But Ilana, oh Ilana, showed us all up with her contribution of rambutan. Never seen one before? Neither had I, but it reignited my fear of sea urchins (a story for another blog, my friends).
Lucky for us, Marc was surreptitiously taking pictures of all the food throughout the meal.
Friday night, we ended up having an impromptu dinner here, and as much as we missed Warren’s company (greatly!), I was happy to be able to host a meal for people who wanted a place to go (even after two days of holiday!), and it was a relief to have help eating the leftovers. Though somehow a lot more food also showed up…
If the way a year starts has anything to do how it proceeds, and I hope it does, that means the coming year will be filled with a new sense of calmness, wonderful friends, a whole lot of food, an increasing amount of sleep, and, oh yeah, a really awesome baby.