The look on her face when I explained to her "So..this is the milky cutlery, this is the meaty cutlery, these are the meaty dishes, these are the milky dishes" was priceless. The way she deliberately stopped and stared at the handles of the kitchen drawers before she chose one to open in the search for a spoon for her yogurt was a portrait of true true friendship.
In the words of the fabulous Sarah - "So what do we eat on THIS holiday? Is this the one with the cheesecake? Is this the one with the matzah? Is this the one with the fried potato pancakes? Is this the one with the triangular poppy biscuits?" Well..this is the one with the very sweet foods. Sarah liked the fried potato pancake holiday best.
But I digress.
So you all came over to my parent's apartment for Rosh Hashanah dinner, and boy was it crowded. But that's just fine, because my mother always cooks enough food "for an entire army troop" (my father's words). I have been living in a different country from my parents since I was 18, and they only moved to Australia a couple of years ago, therefore my mother and I are making up for lost time. She cooks and I eat. It's a great system.
To bring in the new year, the women of the household light the candles. Two each for me and mum, one for my daughter. Can you see the pomegranates? They are a traditional new year food (lots of sweet little seeds to symbolise a fruitful new year) which my mum is using here for decoration. See the sweetpeas? My mum is unstoppable when it comes to symbolic decorations, just wait and see....
Here is the magnificent table ready for the traditional blessing of the wine and bread (challah). In the centre are the two challahs, but you can't see them because they are covered by a challah-cover. The cover is especially made for Rosh Hashanah and has a decoration of apples on it, apple dipped in honey being a traditional new year food. My mum found a couple of apple candles too!
On Friday nights and Saturdays (Shabbat) we usually have two challahs which are long and plaited, but for the High Holy Days we have round challahs with raisins. My mother even bought one (the one on the left) with sweet streusel topping, mmmmmm......
So thanks for joining us, I'm glad you had such a good time, and I hope each and every one of you enjoyed the little "goodie bag" my mother gave you, you know, for your trip back home, so you wouldn't, god forbid, get hungry.
Oh, and a recipe, as promised! This cake freezes very well and, in fact, tastes even better after being frozen and then defrosted. Really!
ELEANOR’S FAMILY HONEY CAKE [rectangular pan 9” x 13”]
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinammon
1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 rounded tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brandy
½ cup oil (canola/sunflower)
[ 3 cups self-raising flour]
Cream all well **EXCEPT FLOUR** using large bowl of mixmaster.
Then add flour – beat until mixed through.
Last: While beating on lowest speed add: 1 ½ cups boiling water.
Beat till mixed through.
The batter will be very thin. Don’t worry!
Bake slowly – 320 degrees (160 celsius) – for 1 hour approx.