My sister is in town, and it isn’t surprising that the conversation often turns to our mother, hers and mine. The discussion typically begins with Anita recalling how, “our mother used to say…” ,”used to prepare…”, “used to pronounce…” or “used to like…”, and ends when I respond by saying, “not my mother.” There are eight years between us and in some ways we did have different mothers. Anita was born and spent her early years in post-war Paris, while I was a child of the 1950s, born in The Bronx. With each of us, our mother was busy adjusting to a new country, culture, language, and cuisine. As the younger sister I must admit that I thoroughly enjoy this verbal sparring but I’m not sure my sister feels the same way.
Preparing for Rosh Hashana, I feel an obligation to make some of the dishes that we both remember, and agree, that our mother served every Yontif. I will make her Chicken Soup with kreplach, garlic chicken with roast potatoes, and make sure to include carrots for a sweet year. The gefilte fish has been eliminated from the menu, as has the honey cake. Instead of Tzimmis, I will prepare a fresh raw salad, colorful and slightly sweet, still using some ingredients that were often found in my mother’s kitchen, but with a new twist.
I remember my mother wishing that the New Year would be at least as good as the last, and no worse. I called my sister to confirm this, and of course, she said that her mother never said that. Luckily, some things never change. Wishing you all a Zisn Yontif, on that we can all agree.
Note: This recipe was adapted from a salad prepared in my home several weeks ago by the chefs from Puzzle Israel.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/ 4 cup lemon or lime juice
1 Tb sesame oil
1 tsp salt
I would add a few drops of honey for some extra sweetness