BBC Good Food Magazine
WHAT TO EAT FOR ROSH HASHANAH
This is said to help bring a sweet year. Many families dip apples and/or challah (a traditional Jewish festive bread) in it, but it’s also given as gifts and used in savoury dishes, like tzimmes
– a carrot-based dish sweetened with honey and served as a side.
Also symbolic for a sweet new year, many start their celebrations by dipping apple slices in honey.
This traditional sweet bread, eaten by many families each Friday night to celebrate the Sabbath, is usually a long, plaited loaf. For Rosh Hashanah, it’s shaped into a round to represent the neverending circle of life.
Simanim is the name given to foods that are thought to bring luck. These include veg that grow profusely (which symbolises prosperity), such as pumpkins, black-eyed beans, leeks, beet leaves and spinach. Dates – said to ward off your enemies – are also a favourite, along with carrots.
Another tradition is to eat a fruit that you’ve not tasted yet that season, to mark a new experience. Pomegranates are a traditional ‘new fruit’. They symbolise fertility and are said to contain 613 seeds – the number of commandments in the Hebrew Bible or Torah..
No new year celebration would be complete without this essential treat. See my recipe, opposite.
Feast, followed by fast
After all that feasting comes a day of fasting. On Yom Kippur (a week after Rosh Hashanah), no food is consumed for 25 hours as Jewish people repent their sins of the year before so they may go into the next year with a clean slate. Families will vary in how they choose to break their fast, but many do so with a nice slice of honey cake or challah and a soothing cup of tea.