Wednesday night started the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana. This is the new year for the Jews, the time of rebirth, the time of making new and old resolutions of renewing our faith and... blah blah blah. OK let's be honest: This is really a time for showing off our gourmet culinary skills! As the foodie movement hits all corners of the world and then some, the orthodox Jewish women have jumped on the #instayum train with much gusto. The three days leading up to the Jewish new year had my instagram, facebook, and twitter feeds flooded with round challah's and exquisite pomegranate salads, marinades, and fuzzy beverages. The fresh recipes, delicious-looking food, and creative presentation were astounding; not only in the abundance of posts but in their frequency (all-day, all-night!)
I looked at every picture and then circled back to check out almost everyone's blogs and websites. I had to see the food from all sides and read what the recipes entailed. And let's face it, I was a little bit jealous I was not posting my gourmet High Holiday meals. But alas, a practical problem got in the way... The 2 meals I was hosting were going to be on the last two days of the holiday, which meant I was going to be doing most of my cooking on the day I was actually serving my food. And as an orthodox Jew I do not use my cell phone on Rosh Hashana which means no instagram, no facebook and no twitter pages to show off my tasty delights. I did make a couple of things before the holiday, but, my round challahs, although incredibly yummy, looked more like 2 curvy boobs from every angle. I kid you not, this is the truth. [Sorry readers, no pictures here.]
So I looked and I drooled and thoroughly enjoyed myself, living vicariously through every friend and blogger posting dish, after plate, after dish - including my creatively talented sister-in-law Esther who ALWAYS has the best place cards. See exhibit A below. (Mini apples, drizzled with chocolate, and names written on paper leaves.)
Then the holiday came in and miraculously everything stopped. The computers shut down, phones shut off, Ipads hidden behind the couch (from tiny little fingers who love Elmo). My obsession with the internet food display slowly dissipated as I lit the holiday candles and thought about our new year to come. I focused on myself, my family, my friends, and our life. And I realized it's nice to be in the moment sometimes, even more than being in - or seeing - or taking the picture.
Later that night, we hosted a "half-meal" in which we invited a handful of friends to come over after services for just soup, challah, chummus, and wine. Luckily I grew up in a home with 12 kids (hence blog name, Lucky #9) and about 60 people filtering through our home every Friday night for Shabbat dinner so when I make a pot of soup it is always a LARGE pot of soup. I say 'luckily' because in true "Schwartz"style (my maiden name), my youngest brother showed up with 6 extra people, turning our 'handful' into a total of 16!!! No sweat. We took the party outside to the backyard, set up some more tables and chairs and brought a few extra bottles of wine to celebrate. I have no pictures of the hot summery evening with our backyard lights brightening the night sky. No pictures of the tasty mushroom barley soup served in plastic bowls or the guests gathered around my holiday table, helping themselves to the very last drop. And no pictures of the emotions of happiness and comfort that were palpable amongst our family and friends on that first Rosh Hashana night. But what I do have are permanent memories, a warm recharged feeling that is still present and...and...an idea for a great Rosh Hashana Mushroom Barley picture blog.
Happy Foodie New Year!
P.s. Here are some pictures I snuck in right before lighting the Holiday candles.