Bringing in 5771

It’s been a food-heavy and work-light few days here as the new year has made its entrance.  After incredible meals (feasts, really) Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, I am enjoying the quietness and food-light day today (I have to say though, I had it lucky.  To read about a true day of feasting, go here).

Preparations for Rosh Hashanah on Wednesday were really amazing.  I went out to the shuk to stock up on a few things and was mesmerized by the chaos and by the quantities of food:

Piles of fruit at the shuk

Holiday cakes at the local bakery

Nuts and dried fruit, going quickly!

The “holiday season” here is filled with gift giving, of a sort.  Families and friends give one another holiday-appropriate packages: for example, different types of honey (for a sweet new year), chocolates, etc.  Several stores in the area were selling pre-made baskets filled with goodies…so many of them that they overflowed the store!

Gifts for the New Year

I don't think the car was supposed to be part of the gift...

I brought my own gift to the two hosts where I feasted the past few days, but I must say that my marzipan (made by a locally-famous bakery here) paled in comparison to the cakes and cookies – not to mention the main courses – that I was served.  We finished lunch yesterday at around 3:30 and I didn’t eat again until this morning!

But, I couldn’t resist being a little creative myself today and decided to bake a round challah (instead of a regular braided one) to celebrate the new year.  I don’t bake challah very often (and I don’t usually show it off, either!), but I can’t help sharing this one with all of you:

My creative juices were flowing this morning...

Now that I know my oven works (and now that it is no longer 95 degrees every day), I can turn my creativity towards learning how to make some of the amazing baked goods produced in this part of the world.  I’m willing to take requests for goodies you all want me to be able to create…

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