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September 25, 2009

La Shana Tova -- Happy New Year!

RHPomegranates.jpgI've been thinking about what to do for Rosh Hashanah on the blog. I'm not sure I could write something with any authority, being the great-granddaughter of an Episcopalian bishop of Tennessee although not much of a church-goer myself. But Robert of Cross Keys has really come through for us with his guest post today. I'm just sorry I don't have any photos of the Rosh Hashanah Under the Stars event to post with it. Here's Robert. EL

Last week I went to Oregon Ridge for Rosh Hashanah, which is part religious service and part tailgate. ...

It is casual…very casual.   I wore my normal outfit of khakis and boat shoes, but for many in attendance the attire was yarmulkes and Flacco jerseys.

You have the cantor singing, the rabbi pontificating, about 1,500 kids running around like meshuggenehs, and everyone else is noshing from their picnic baskets. (For those who have already grown tired of all the Yiddish words, don’t worry. As a shaygetz, I’ve already exhausted my knowledge of the language with the exception of those words the Sun won’t publish)

My picnic basket was filled with brisket; yes, more of that Texas brisket that is the pork belly of the bovine world. One might think that I would have reached my fill of fatty, smoked meat for the year.  Surprisingly, I have not.  

I also had various treats from the Euro Deli in Owings Mills.  I went with a duo of salami, the garlicky Jewish and the fatty, Mortadella-like Old Kiev on some black bread with polish butter and Chinese mustard. (Chinese mustard was one of the few condiments I had in small packages.  My other options were McDonald’s ketchup and Arby’s Horsey Sauce.)   

I followed up the meats with a digestive salad.  No, not really.  Well, I did have a salad. It was a beet salad made with mayonnaise, sour cream, raisins and walnuts.  

Next was the cheese course, which was farmer's cheese served with apples and honey.  I’m not sure what kind of farmer's cheese I bought, as the labels were in Cyrillic. I could only make out a percentage on the label, which I assumed was fat content.  Needless to say, I searched out the highest number I could find.

Dessert was a sirki, which is more farmer's cheese but covered in a dark chocolate shell. It is like a York Peppermint Patty, if it were made in Wisconsin.   This confection went surprisingly well with my Rufus Red wine, which tasted like a mix between Mavrodaphne and Manischewitz.

I normally celebrate Rosh Hashanah with the wife each year, but I abstain from participating in Yom Kippur.  After this New Year’s meal, I think the fast might do me good. 

(AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 1:26 PM | | Comments (12)
        

Comments

I have always appreciated the wisdom in Judaism of celebrating the New Year in early fall rather than the dead of winter. Years ago I picked up a shofar and actually blew it (or tried to!) at the beginning of my services last Sunday. My nod to the New Year's menu was a terrific bottle of kosher California Black Muscat wine -- not too sweet, but really rich.

It is like a York Peppermint Patty, if it were made in Wisconsin.

I laughed right out loud.

Sounds like the Oregon Ridge thing is rather nice, RoCK. I might have to check it out next year. Your tailgate meal sounds sublime - especially the beet salad - yum!

As one on the other side of RoCK's mixed marriage, I have an RC [raised or reformed Catholic] wife who makes terrific matzoh balls, kugel and brisket.

Here's a short history of the Jews:

They tried to kill us.
We won.
Let's eat.

I'm with you, Bra1nchild. My gentile wife makes killer kugel, glorious chopped liver and sublime potato latkes. Actually, we're not just a mixed marriage, we're a mixed family. I'm Jewish, my wife was raised Catholic, our daughter spent her formative years in London where we lived (so she's Church of England,) our son-in-law is the choir director at a Methodist church and the cat being Siamese is Budhist. It's not bad. We get all the holidays.

Kinda tangential, but:
While your meal sounds terrific, RoCK, let's not forget sephardic cookery.
Here's a wikipedia overview with a starter bibliography:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_of_the_Sephardic_Jews

I do have a Sephardic cookbook, but I've never seen a restaurant or deli that specializes in this fare.

For that matter, I'm not sure where in this country one would find a significant Sephardic population.

bra1nchild, true except Yom Kippur.

RoCK, Miami and NYC both have Sephardic style restaurants. I was raised in the Ashkenazi tradition but have been really enjoy Sephardic fare when I'm able to find it.

We just returned from a business trip to Belgium. Our final stop was Antwerp, which as a major center of diamond trading has a large orthodox Jewish presence. As we were on our way to the airport Saturday morning we saw many observant Jews on their way to services. Black was universal, but I noticed that some men wore yarmulkes and long side curls, while other had no side curls visible but were adorned by spectacular large fur hats. Can anyone explain the different dress codes?

We just returned from a business trip to Belgium. Our final stop was Antwerp, which as a major center of diamond trading has a large orthodox Jewish presence. As we were on our way to the airport Saturday morning we saw many observant Jews on their way to services. Black was universal, but I noticed that some men wore yarmulkes and long side curls, while other had no side curls visible but were adorned by spectacular large fur hats. Can anyone explain the different dress codes?

Dahlink, different styles of payes (sidecurls) for different groups, basically. They all go back to Leviticus 18:27 ("You will not round the corners of your head."). Some tuck the payes behind the ears (or even under the kippah), sometimes they flow into the beard so you don't notice them, some groups make them really obvious.

Thanks, Lissa. I did remember the admonition from Leviticus (although not chapter and verse), but found the different expressions very interesting

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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