Trying New Food This "New Year"

September 30 2011 - 9:10 AM

Earlier this week, one of my co-workers asked me, "Is it even possible to make Jewish food good?" I looked at him, completely baffled, and responded, "Um…yes! Because it IS good." I have no idea where he's been eating, but take one step into my house during the High Holidays and you'd have the same answer I did. With enough desserts to fill a bakery and more courses than the fanciest restaurant I've ever been to, I have been pretty fortunate to have an incredible experience during each and every Jewish holiday. 

I'm convinced that cultural food ignorance is a result of one of two things: 1) You had a bad experience eating the food and didn't enjoy it in an authentic environment or 2) Some cultural foods are so delicious because they are from your own culture. You grew up eating them, associating them with a specific feeling or memory, and you enjoy them so much as a result. 

It was quite the coincidence that he happened to ask that question the same week as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and very possibly my favorite Jewish holiday. I mean, who doesn't like a good New Year's celebration? There's more food than Thanksgiving and plenty of wine, too. 

My favorite Rosh Hashanah food is the homemade challah bread…or the gefilte fish…or the honey cake. Okay, it's a toss up. But really, everyone enjoys having some edible tradition every year. Whether it's Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving turkey or something a little more exotic, we love the feeling those flavors bring to our hearts and our families. 

Yom Kippur, the day of repentance is coming up next week. It sounds like the perfect time to repent for all your missed time by trying out some new and delicious cultural food. 

–Marly Schuman