Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vegetarian Rosh Hashanah: A New Tradition?

Meat was always an integral part of all of our holiday meals. My grandmother's brisket, tsimmes and/or stuffed cabbage always played a starring role on the table. The very thought of a holiday meal without one of those dishes never seemed quite right. This year I had a change of heart because I realized that it was silly to make food for tradition's sake (and mine) if most of the guests wouldn't be eating it. My brother and his family are vegetarians and in later years my grandfather has stopped eating meat. (He claims this is for health reasons but I think it is because of difficulty chewing.)

I thought the menu would be a challenge but in fact it was quite simple. I just used my grandmother's side dishes which were (or can be) vegetarian by nature.

We had: Mushroom and Barley Soup

Kasha Varnishkes (Grandma's recipe), Swiss Chard , Heirloom Tomatoes

Challah: I baked another batch today. No more challah pancake here. Look how fabulous it turned out. Izzy, my dear sweet boy, told me that the ugly challah tasted fine. My niece J., thought the same but finally had to admit that batch two tasted and looked better.

We ended the meal with Chocolate-Chip Cranberry Rugelach (always a hit) and Peach Frozen Yogurt (experimental). Check back for recipes.

Overall, the vegetarian meal was a success. I wasn't frustrated that I worked so hard cooking meat for nobody to eat and my relatives were happy to have food that they could enjoy. Will I make it a tradition? That remains to be seen because I would like Izzy to be privy to the foods I grew up on.. Fortunately most Jewish holidays last more than one day so I can always cook them for a different meal.

p.s. This meal was made possible through the incredible cooperation of Izzy, who was kind enough to entertain himself for six hours today. He helped bake, clean up the yard and spent an hour dozing on the lawn furniture, as he gazed at some workmen upon the roof of D.'s house (thanks for scheduling chimney repair today!).

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