Happy New Years! Make it a Sweet One!

September 19th, 2012 § 0 comments

Happy New Year to one and all. Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year holiday, has just passed and solemn Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and atonement, will soon be here. This leads HG to a remembrance of a Jewish Tom Sawyer moment when HG was a growing and ever-hungry ten-year-old. HG’s mother and father were secular, left wing socialists. However, in a bow to tradition and identification with their fellow Jews, they observed the High Holy Days. HG’s father attended synagogue on Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur was a day of fasting (which ended in an exuberant feast). One autumn, HG’s Mom prepared a big tray of rugelach for the fast-ending Yom Kippur dinner. Yes, you can buy rugelach today from Zabar’s, Dean & DeLuca and many other sources. These yummy Eastern European pastries have entered the foodie mainstream. However, current day rugelach are only pale imitations of HG’s Mom’s cinnamon, raisin, walnut stuffed wonders. Little HG was a rugelach junkie. One wasn’t enough and a dozen weren’t too many. On that memorable Yom Kippur day many years ago, little HG came home and discovered the tray of rugelach cooling in the pantry. The HG family lived on the ground floor of a two family house and the pantry could be entered through a separate rear door. Hungry HG discovered the apartment was empty and this gave him the opportunity to do the forbidden: Eat on Yom Kippur and devour rugelach meant for the celebratory dinner. Well, naughty HG ate a rugelleh (the singuar of rugellach. HG rearranged the tray so his theft would not be discovered. This made HG even hungrier so HG ate another rugelleh. Yes, gluttony took over and the bad boy ate every pastry on the tray. Mom came home and discovered the theft. Obviously, rugelach burglars were at work. “Goniffs came in through the back door. I’m calling the cops,” she shouted. HG had to confess. No hitting but many angry words. Fortunately, Mom had made a big lekach, a honey cake. At dinner that night the family had wedges of the cake and toasted the new year with shots of Park & Tilford rye whiskey. All made wishes for a sweet new year. Little HG was forgiven. After all, his pastry felony could be interpreted as a loving testimonial to his Mom’s baking skills.

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