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Published: Saturday, 8/31/2002

Holidays showcase traditional foods

This smoked fish platter is from Barry Bagels. This smoked fish platter is from Barry Bagels.
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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur bring the scent of fall apples, honey cakes, and round challahs. There are many options for feasting and fasting. From home cooking to calling a catering firm or local delicatessen with the capacity to make Kosher foods, observant Jewish people enjoy holiday foods.

This year Rosh Hashanah will be celebrated beginning at sundown Sept. 6, and Yom Kippur will begin at sundown Sept. 15.

In addition to kugels and knishes and traditional gefilte fish, families might also plan on chicken soup for Rosh Hashanah. Following the fasting of Yom Kippur, a smoked fish platter for Break Fast along with bagels and rugelach is popular.

“Smoked fish is common,” says Mickey Sokobin of Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim. “It doesn't require a lot of preparation on the day. We're not supposed to be cooking [in keeping with the religious practice]. I can't speak for everybody, but most people have a dairy meal. You don't want to eat too heavy after a fast.”

Usually she serves kugel, a baked dish made with noodles, eggs, and milk. “I make tuna fish and a spinach roll made with phyllo dough, which can be frozen and then put in the oven,” says Mrs. Sokobin, who serves smoked fish too. “I make whitefish salad and herring in wine sauce.”

“[For] Rosh Hashanah, which is like a Sabbath meal, you might serve chicken or brisket,” she said. “Chicken soup is made with kreplach,” which is a noodle dough filled with chicken or meat. Some people may serve matzoh balls with the soup.

Part of the ritual of holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and the Sabbath includes candles, wine, and bread with a special blessing.

“After Break Fast on Yom Kippur, some congregations have a table in the hallway where people dip apple in honey,” Mrs. Sokobin said. “This symbolizes a wish for a sweet new year. Then they go home and have a meal or have a meal at the synagogue.”

The meal can include the smoked fish platter. It may include whitefish, smoked sable, and lox (smoked salmon). “I include Swiss and Muenster cheese, and vegetables to garnish, like sliced cucumber, purple onion, and tomato,” says Barry Greenblatt, owner of Barry Bagels. The trays include bagels and flavored cream cheeses. “Some people order them every year. They have to allow a week lead time.” Price is about $13.75 per person.

“The typical fish tray with lox is not only for holidays,” says Les Greenblatt, Barry's brother. “People serve it for Saturday and Sunday brunch too.”

Smoked fish is also sold at Rohr Fish, including smoked salmon, trout fillets, whole smoked whitefish, and thinly sliced smoked whitefish. “Nova Scotia lox are soaked in salt brine,” said Tom Chipps, owner.

Al Friedman makes a trip to the Detroit area at least once a month to shop at Kosher stores such as One Stop Kosher Market in Southfield. Several Farmer Jack stores in the Detroit area also specialize in Kosher products, including party trays.

The smoked fish and dairy trays also are available by special order from Toledo's Farmer Jack's. “These are popular for the Yom Kippur holiday. We do hundreds for the Oak Park area,” says Tammy O'Brien of the corporate office. “Many order a smoked fish and dairy tray with sable, kippered white salmon, lox, smoked chubbs (small whitefish), cottage cheese, cheese, vegetables, and cream cheese. It's $14.50 per person with a minimum of eight people.”

Noodle Kugel

4 ounces whipped cream cheese

1 pound cottage cheese

1 pint sour cream

5 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and divided into two equal parts

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 pound wide egg noodles, cooked

1 cup dried cranberries

2 cups corn flake crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Mix until well-incorporated. Add eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 pound melted butter, and nutmeg. Gently fold in cooked noodles and cranberries. Pour mixture into prepared pan, reserve.

In a small bowl, combine corn flake crumbs, remaining melted butter, and remaining sugar. Mix until coated. Cover noodle mixture with topping and bake for 1 hour or until topping is golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Cool before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Source: Jewish Holiday Style by Rita Milos Brownstein



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