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Festive Appetizers for Ringing in the Jewish New Year - Recipes from The Kitchn

Festive Appetizers for Ringing in the Jewish New Year - Recipes from The Kitchn
From The Kitchn - September 16, 2017

Rosh Hashanah is often called the Jewish New Year. While it is not technically the first day of the Hebrew calendar, the holiday marks the spiritual head of the yeara contemplative time when people take stock and reflect on their lives and wish one another sweet times ahead. Unlike New Year's Eve, Rosh Hashanah, which falls in the autumn (this year on September 20), is less focused on countdowns and party hats, and more on all things sacred and familial. But there is still plenty of room for celebrationparticularly when it comes to food.

The Jewish New Year has many food traditions associated with it, including eating round challah studded with raisins, and dipping apples into honey as symbolic embodiments of sweetness and fullness. Most families gather for a dinner filled with time-tested dishes. But home cooks who want to get creative need only look to New Year's Eve's tradition of serving appetizers and cocktail party fare for inspiration.

Read more: The Sweetness of Rosh Hashanah

Global Jewish cuisine includes a diverse selection of appetizers and small plates. Across Central and Eastern Europe cuisines, those foodsthings like gefilte fish, briny dill pickles, and chopped liverare called forspeis, literally "before foods" in Yiddish. In Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Jewish cuisines, the mezze game is particularly strong. Dishes like charred eggplant salads, stuffed grape leaves, and small savory pastries are almost always served at the start of festive meals.

While researching for my new cookbook, the Little Book of Jewish Appetizers, I reached around the world to find 25 of Jewish cuisine's most delicious nibbles, noshes, and "before foods." And this year, as Rosh Hashanah approaches, I am excited to share many of them at my family's celebration. Two of my favorites, vegetarian chopped liver with shallots, and borscht crostini, offer playful takes on tradition that will liven up the holiday meal.

Find Leah's Book:

Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig

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