The Kosher Table
Welcome to The Kosher Table—the place to find out ‘what’s cooking’ in the Philadelphia area. Here you’ll find an eclectic array of Shabbat, holiday, and everyday menus and recipes, as well as the scoop on our region’s kosher restaurants and shops. Last month's column features a review of Yi-Tzi Peking. This month's column is full of ideas for the coming Holidays. Correspondence is welcome at food @ pjvoice.com
Wishing You a Sweet and Meaningful New Year!
As the kids return to school, the weather turns a bit cooler, and we turn over the last page of our Jewish wall calendars, it’s also the time we turn to cherished family recipes that bring back memories of Rosh Hashanahs past. Every year, I become nostalgic for the fragrant sweetness of my mother’s honey cake—redolent of coffee, ginger, and apricot brandy, the last, her trademark flavoring. I remember my sisters’ and my own excitement picking up our challah order from the kosher bakery near my grandparents’ house—two round plain and two round raisin—along with special Rosh Hashanah treats: vibrant little marzipan rainbow cakes layered with chocolate and jam, teiglach (Yiddish for "bits of dough")—that glistening mountain of marble-sized cookies and candied fruit in a honey syrup—and assorted cookies by the pound. At home we couldn’t wait to be the first one to dip the apple in the honey for a sweet year. At our friends’ homes there were other traditions, such as eating a whole fish, including the head, to express the hope that the Jewish people would "be a head" (a leader of nations) and "not a tail" (a small, downtrodden people), and enjoying other symbolic dishes.
Some years ago, I learned about a festive and meaningful way to integrate many of these symbols: turning the erev Rosh Hashanah meal into a ‘Seder Rosh Hashanah’—a custom described in the Talmud dating back over 2,000 years and practiced by Jewish communities throughout the world, especially Sephardic and Mizrahi communities from Spain, Portugal, North Africa, and the Middle East. Two versions I discovered recently are Apples and Pomegranates: A Family Seder for Rosh Hashanah by Rahel Musleah, and "A Seder Rosh Hashanah" by Noam Zion
The recipes that follow incorporate a variety of symbolic foods, sometimes in whimsical ways, and invite celebration and joy. Children love the idea that Rosh Hashanah is also a birthday party, celebrating G-d’s creation of Humanity. The kids can help decorate a birthday cake to serve with dessert, and sing "Yom Huledet Sameach."
I’ve also included some treats for the holiday of Sukkot, the festival of booths. The custom of having one’s sukkah open to the community—inviting the fun pastime of ‘sukkah hopping’—is popular in my neighborhood, and I enjoy discovering the variety of tasty snacks people have available for guests to nosh. Here are a few of my favorites for you to try. So L’Shanah Tova Tikutevu—may you be inscribed for a good year.
Acme Market Goes Kosher in a Big Way
One of the biggest events to impact the appetites of the Main Line Jewish community this month was the Grand Opening of the Narberth Acme’s long-awaited, newly expanded Kosher department. Or should I say Kosher departments. The Kosher Marketplace, under the supervision of the Orthodox Union (O-U) and presided over by head mashgiach Jan Moskow and mashgiach Reuven Weyden, boasts a full kosher deli department, a kosher bakery department, a kosher meat department—and that’s just for starters.
Narberth Acme is the only local market offering Aaron’s Best kosher fried chicken and two varieties of renowned Empire rotisserie chickens (‘special seasoned’ and unseasoned). The pareve, Pas Yisroel bakery features special occasion cakes decorated to order, in addition to dairy cakes and cheesecakes that are brought into the store. Daily, the store cuts fresh kosher beef, veal, lamb, and kosher fish, and the kosher deli features custom-made gourmet salads brought in from New York, as well as delicious kugels (I love their potato soufflé), knishes, and fresh made-to-order deli sandwiches.
I was impressed with the large selection of products from Israel—including a great many Israeli spices and prepared foods—their huge frozen-foods department, and their ever-expanding ‘Kosher To Go’ section, which currently includes fresh chunk fruit salads, a nice variety of sandwiches prepared fresh daily, pareve quiches, and cold-pack fried chicken—and soon to come, fresh kosher sushi to go.
Chances are, if it’s kosher you’ll find it at the Narberth Acme!
Until we eat again . . .
Lisa Kelvin Tuttle has professional experience in the gourmet, catering, and health-food fields, as well as being an experienced kosher camp cook. Her greatest pleasure, though, is cooking Shabbos dinner for family and friends. She resides with her husband, Alan, and sons Adam and Jeremy in Wynnewood.