Traditionally the holiday begins with a seder on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, which features tapas-style dishes and a pun-driven ceremony, says Food section contributor and caterer Vered Guttman:
The series of blessings (“yehi ratzons”) over small dishes, each symbolizing a wish for the new year, often involve quirky wordplay in Hebrew and Aramaic. This is what my family did when I was growing up in Israel, and it is how my family and friends celebrate the holiday today.
Guttman and her family eat squash, or “kara” in Aramaic, which comes from the word for “to rip.” Guttman says they ask God to rip out the evil as they await verdicts of whether they will be inscribed in the “Book of Life.”
She has developed a roasted butternut squash recipe for the annual meal, with date molasses and candied ginger:
This is a quick and easy tapas-style appetizer, but it can be served as a seasonal fall side dish as well.
Sweet recipes are often more frequent items for the holiday, Guttman says:
Potomac resident Mirie Mesika...eschews cooking with salt, as some Sephardis do for Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing the desire for a new year that is only sweet. Amsellem family members don’t reintroduce salt into their diet until about a month later, when they celebrate the harvest holiday of Sukkot.
Freelance writer and Food contributor Rachel Packer went to great lengths to find a recipe for apple cake that her son, who is allergic to eggs and nuts, could enjoy during the holidays. She dubbed her creation Not Your Bubbe’s Apple Cake:
Through much experimentation, tears, frustration and ultimately success, our family can enjoy the holiday favorites that are now allergy-free yet still worthy of a celebration.
is one of those recipes. The bonus: It’s cholesterol-free, pareve — and you can lick the bowl afterward.
Since eating apples and honey is said to ensure a sweet near year, recipes for the complimentary ingredients are plentiful (honey-caramey apple wedges, fried apples, apple and honey tarts). Pomegranates are also a symbolic food and carry a blessing:
May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that we be filled with mitzvot like a pomegranate [is filled with seeds].
See more pomegranate and Rosh Hashanah recipes.
Apple, Honey and Walnut Sorbet
Brisket With Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Crazy Crust Pie
Chilled Salmon With Herb Mayonnaise
Pomegranate and Apple Salad
Smoked Stuffed Brisket With Pomegranate Sauce
More on Rosh Hashanah:
Rosh Hashanah foods, beyond apples and honey
Blessings for Rosh Hashanah symbolic foods
An inclusive apple cake for Rosh Hashanah (and beyond)
Rosh Hashanah etiquette guide