As I write this column, I’m halfway through the holiest of all weeks for Jews.
As I mentioned earlier, I was with my family in Denver for Rosh Hashana last weekend, spending a lot of time praying and listening at synagogue but also sharing laughs and eating.
This Sunday, I will return to the city and once again eat dinner with my family before sundown, at which time we will begin a fast that lasts until at least three stars shine in Monday evening’s sky.
It’s Yom Kippur.
As a new food writer but a lifelong foodie, the prospect of at least 24 hours without a frosted cinnamon bun from Ever Open Caf/ on North College or a steaming cup of coffee made at Rocky Mountain Bagel Works on West Elizabeth kind of freaks me out.
But it’s worth the sacrifice because I’ll come out on the other end feeling refreshed about my duty as a human being. This cleansing is important as a Jew but also helpful as a 20-something college student with the same stresses as everyone.
It doesn’t mean between now and Sunday afternoon I will suffer.
Pastrami and spicy mustard on pumpernickel is on the menu this week, and maybe a couple of local beers. To further indulge, I’ve challenged my boss to a truffle “throw down” in which the winner will receive.well, we haven’t totally figured that out yet but I’m hopeful of victory (stayed tuned).
Alas, though, I must prepare for Sunday and I can honestly say I look forward to the meal because it is steeped in tradition and memories.
As always, we will have homemade chicken soup made with noodle, carrots, celery and onions. Blame the Manishewitz company (pronounced man-a-shev-its) for making so many people think this soup should always have matzo balls.
With our soup we will enjoy crown-shaped challah, baked in this form to represent the head of the new year. (Rosh means “head,” Ha means “the” and Shana means “year.”)
For those who are really new to Jewish cuisine and the holidays, the round, sweet challah is made with raisins and served with honey during the holy days. The rest of the year, challah is braided and served with salt.
Did you know that the symbolism behind salt on challah is said to represent the tears of the Jewish people?
Well, enough about history and renewal. When that third star shines, you can find me at Grandma Joyce’s house with a loaded, cream-cheese-schmeared bagel in one hand and a glass of orange juice in the other.
As always, I bid you L’Chaim and B’Tay Avon (To Life and Eat Well).
Staff writer Liz Sunshine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molly Goldberg’s Chicken in a Pot
1 5-pound chicken
10 cups water
2 stalks celery
1 Tablespoon salt
4 sprigs parsley
Place chicken and water in soup pot. Bring to a boil. Skim the top. Cover and cook over medium heat for one hour. Add onion, celery, carrots, parsley and salt. Cook for one hour. For a more flavorful broth substitute two cups of chicken broth for two of the cups of water.
8 cups flour
2 ounces yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup warm water
4 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup oil
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 cups raisins
Sift flour into large bowl. Make well. Crumble yeast into well. Sprinkle two tablespoons sugar over yeast. Pour 3/4 cup water over yeast in well. Mix together lightly and let sit five minutes.
To flour mixture add ingredients as listed: eggs, oil, salt, sugar and 1 1/2 cups water. Knead for about five minutes. Cover with damp dish towel and let stand about one hour or until raised double in size.
Knead again for about five minutes and add raisins. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
Divide challah in two parts for large or four for small challahs and place each part in a bowl. Flour a board or clean counter. Take each part and knead into a long roll and then roll as if making a cinnamon roll, tucking under the ends.
Grease and flour cookie sheets. Place dough on the pan and cover with dish towel. Let rise for one hour. Proceed with other parts in the same manner.
Mix together one egg, one teaspoon oil and one teaspoon sugar. Brush mixture on top of each raised challah. Bake in 350 degrees oven for 30-40 minutes. Let cool on rack.