Today is Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – on the Jewish calendar. Last week I told you about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that began the 10 days of Repentance which culminates tonight shortly after sundown. To Orthodox Jews, today is a day of total fasting – no work, no play: no food, no water; just prayer, introspection and learning.
And since there has been no food or drink, once the fast is broken (and remember, no cooking has been allowed since prior to – in this year’s case – mid-day Friday! – since Saturday is the Sabbath where no cooking is permitted except for items kept hot from the day before!) the hunger pangs are quite real as is the thirst! (Children, luckily, didn’t have to fast!)
So the tradition is to break the fast with some apple and honey, same as on Rosh Hashanah, a bit of wine to celebrate the conclusion of the holiday, and a light, dairy dinner with often, very salty foods to increase the person’s desire to drink water to make up for what they had not been able to drink all day long!
In my Orthodox grandparents’ home, the break fast dinner was lox, smoked fish, herring in sour cream, bagels, butter and cream cheese, a platter of vegetables and a “lokshun kugel” my grandmother made the day before (if she could) and put in the refrigerator and baked the moment she returned home so we would have something hot! She also had her home made honey cake and sponge cake for dessert with “a gleyzele tey” – a glass of tea = literally!!
Me? I didn’t like all the fish so my dinner was a bagel or a “bulkella” – a wonderful roll made from her holiday challah that tasted more like cake than bread! – liberally spread with butter, lettuce, cucumber slices, tomato slices and a double portion of kugel and a big glass of milk!
This blog is being written a few days early – because like Jews everywhere, I, too, am in Synagogue, praying for good health, peace and joy for my family, all my friends around the world, and for the World itself. Let this Friday the 13th be for a blessing for one and all.
Lokshun Kugel (Noodle Pudding)
- 1 16 ounce package of broad egg noodles
- 1/2 c melted butter
- 1 pint dry cottage cheese (farmer cheese) **
- 3 eggs, well beaten
- 1 can (15 oz.) crushed pineapple, well drained (optional) or
- 1 cup raisins (or both if you like – I do)
- Cinnamon & sugar mixture
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, spray the bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ glass pan; melt butter in the pan when it is hot. (The butter IS important.)
Combine cottage cheese, beaten eggs, and pineapple and/or raisins. When noodles are done, drain well. Add cheese and egg mixture to hot noodles and toss well to combine. Add cinnamon/sugar to taste. Pour into pan in which the butter has been melted. Sprinkle lightly with more cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Bake 30 -45 minutes until top is golden brown and bottom is also golden brown. The melted better helps the bottom and sides to get crispy and golden brown.
Serve hot as a side dish or with cream or whipped cream (or stewed fruit “compote”) for dessert.
It’s also good cold, with warm milk or cream for breakfast!
** These days is it very difficult to find “farmer cheese”. You can substitute non-fat cottage cheese – which is about as dry as you an get. Drain any liquid you find in it and discard.
Makes about 8 servings.