When you hear the word “seder” what comes to mind? Matzah, wine, saltwater: in one word, Passover. But there’s also the lesser known Rosh Hashanah seder, where we prepare and consume specific items of food that in their own different ways symbolize the kind of year we want – sweet, prolific, successful. Sometimes it’s obvious, such as with the ubiquitous apples and honey. But in many of the lesser known food items, the symbolism is literary, where the Hebrew name of the items itself symbolizes the good fortune. This latter category is perfect for salads and warm side dishes, as it includes:
- Leeks: in Hebrew kartee, similar to cut off, our enemies should be cut off.
- Beets: in Aramaic salik, similar to the Hebrew salak, which means go away, in this context that our enemies should disappear.
- Black-eyed peas: symbolizing fertility.
- Gourd: the Hebrew word for pumpkin is kraa to call, meaning our good deeds should call out to God.
- Fenugreek: in Hebrew, rubia similar to yirbu, which means increase, that our merits should increase.
- Carrots: Here we’re getting multilingual. The Yiddish for carrots is mehren, which sounds like mehr, again like the fenugreek, to increase.
Why not experiment with these ingredients this year, perhaps with a side dish of roasted beets and carrots or sauteed leeks with wilted spinach? Or, in Sephardi fashion, as a starter serve a large sharing platter composed of small dipping dishes, each an creation using the individual ingredient? Here’s an idea to start with. Fresh beets diced mixed with pomegranate seeds (symbol for fertility) and chopped mint.
For more recipe ideas read our Final cut recipes posting. Are we missing some symbols? Post a comment and let us know.