It's that time of year again...the hustle and bustle of back-to-school is upon us. Believe me, we are ready to welcome routine structure back into our lives. Usually, this one change keeps us on our toes.
This year, however, we have added additional pressures to the mix - Yom Tov (Jewish holy days, in this case Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year) falls very early - Erev Rosh Hashanah (eve of the holiday) fell on Wednesday September 4th! And, if that weren't enough, we listed our home for sale, so it needs to be pristine and clean at all times (tough to do when flour is flying in the kitchen and I am preparing a dinner for 13!
So, I left my cooking to the very last minute, because there just hasn't been time to prepare the food - we've been out of the house to facilitate showings - a lot!
On Sunday, Becca and I went to Sobey's to pick up the brisket, chicken and fish for Wednesday night. I am hopeless when it comes to choosing meat, and it is at these moments that I really wish I had paid more attention to Mama when she tried to teach me. She loved her meat, and prepared it beautifully. I, on the other hand, always preferred the veggies, and ignored her words of wisdom. Today, I pay the price for my short-sightedness. Thank goodness for my patient butcher Danny - who helps me choose the right meat every holiday.
Note to self: remember that the brisket should always be boneless, and a single brisket is fattier and more flavourful than a double.
I look back on my holiday posts from earlier years, and recall the sadness that permeated the holidays...and I think to myself, in the words my Mom used to always say "we've come a long way baby". The pain and profound sense of loss were so raw that I could not hold back the tears. It's been 7 years since Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, and more than a year since she stopped actively chatting and walking. I miss her so much it hurts...but, life goes on.
As I have said before, I see now that Mom prepared me well for life without her, and I am now comfortable in, and accepting of my role as matriarch of this family. I embrace the traditions, and recognize that it is only through me that the Matriarchs' legacy will continue. This is my birthright, and I will happily assume the responsibility that comes with it, as my mother and grandmothers did before me.
I cooked up a smaller storm this year, given that I was limited in my time and couldn't have too many cooking smells wafting through the house should showings pop up before Yom Tov. But we still had a variety of family favourites (click here for the link to my menu), and I was determined to add a new recipe or two to the mix.
I find that when I am lonely for Mom, I peruse her recipes, and find something to try, which invariably brings me comfort. This time I made her Plum Apple Kiggel. The recipe is written in Bubbie Lou's handwriting and, true to form, she writes a little note at the bottom - which I just discovered when writing this post: "Very simple and a terrific dessert for a Yontiff Dinner!!".
Sometimes I think that the Matriarchs really are watching over me, and bring me these signs when I need them most. Oh Bubbie Lou - thank you for this one!
Whatever you are having and wherever you are celebrating, I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 5774, filled with family, fun. friends and fantastic food. B'Tayavon, Buon Appetito and Shana Tova u Metukah!
Bubbie Lou's Plum Apple Kiggel
- 3 eggs
- ¾C sugar
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1C flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- juice of ½ lemon
- 4 or 5 green apples (peeled and cut into smaller pieces (not too small)
- ½C to 1C of dark raisins (rinsed, patted dry and coated in a little flour so they don't sink)
- 3C plums (cut in half, make sure they are a drier plum (ie Italian plums), otherwise kiggel is too moist)
- 3 egg whites (beaten stiff)