So, there's this thing, it's called seasonal eating? Oh, you think it's new, hot, and en vogue?
Well, actually... it's a tradition which extends back for generations -- at least where eating for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) is concerned! On Rosh Hashanah, it is traditional to eat specific foods called simanim (omens) in order to secure for oneself a new year of health, wealth, long life, and -- most critically -- in which all enemies are consumed, cut off, removed, destroyed, and so on (perhaps in light of Jewish history, an awful lot of care taken about those enemies).
The sure-fire mechanism through which these omens operate is primarily through word play. For instance, the Hebrew word for leeks (karsi) sounds an awful lot like the word for cutting off those darned enemies (kares). More famously, we eat honey for the sake of a simile -- so that our new year will be sweet like honey (mmm). If that's too saccharine for you, personally I was always partial to the Hebrew Sesame Street's grouch Moishe Oofnik's spoof siman: peanut butter, so the new year will stick to the roof of your mouth...
What is most interesting about these simanim for our purposes, however, is that, by some bizarre coincidence, all of these clever puns and metaphors somehow just happen to be centered around foods which appear at the height of the autumn bounty. Seasonal eating! These foods are: leeks, beets, carrots, pumpkin, apples, pomegranate, honey, fish, and black-eyed peas.
When I was designing the menu for FED: Entrepreneurship (coming up on September 20! RSVP today!), I wanted to do something that reflected how I myself am a food entrepreneur. You see, just as we are going to discuss how to look at the world in a entrepreneurial way, I feel like I use a similar creativity and problem-solving mindset when I think about food, and I wanted a menu that reflected that.
So -- as Rosh Hashanah, which begins Sunday night, is very much on my mind, and seasonal too! -- I took the traditional Rosh Hashanah foods named above and played with them in order to showcase their strong points, versatility, and, most importantly, their deliciousness!
OK, here goes:
Appetizer Black-eyed pea salsa with mango and vegetable chips Waldorf salad with apples and dates Apple cabbage slaw Mozzarella, grilled peach, and heirloom tomato stacks with pomegranate vinaigrette Curried carrot and sweet pea samosas
Soup Pumpkin and apple soup with amaretto
Main Pumpkin and eggplant stewed in walnut-pomegranate Persian fesenjan Leek lasagna bechamel Fish with a pomegranate molasses crust Beet and goat cheese honey tart Couscous with 7 different* vegetables, lemon caper dressing Caramel apple kugel
Dessert Carrot cake cheesecake Grilled figs with honeyed mascarpone
Have I convinced you yet that you should come to FED? RSVP here - and tell your friends!