L’shana tova umetukah! Tips for Preparing that Rosh Hashanah Spread

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Rosh Hashana is prime time for exemplifying your kitchen expertise as the whole holiday is geared towards consuming foods that signify a fruitful and successful year ahead. Apples are dipped into honey so that your year should be sweet, and many families avoid nuts for the numerical symbolism that it has to sin. Here are a few other foods that are perfect for the upcoming holiday and how to prepare them easily:

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Pomegranates are a key fruit for your Rosh Hashana table. Filled with millions of seeds, they represent our desire to be fruitful and multiply and so we eat them by the spoonful but also incorporate them into the main dishes. This externally beautiful fruit only gets more interesting when cut open, so here’s some tricks for how to cut it open the right way: First place a paper towel underneath the fruit so that its juice doesn’t stain your countertop. Then cut off both the top and the bottom, further continuing to section the fruit off into four. As you pull the skin back, be sure to catch all the seeds and discard the flesh. Pomegranate seeds look gorgeous by themselves in a glass bowl, or can be sprinkled on top of your salads or added into your chicken recipe.

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Even more symbolic than the pomegranate seeds is the head of the fish. Even though it sounds unappetizing, the head of the fish is crucial to your meal because it represents your hope to be the ‘head’ in the new year ahead of you instead of falling to the ‘tail,’ to the bottom. If you choose to make your own fish head instead of buying a prepared one, here’s the how to: using kitchen shears, cut off the fins and snip out the gills with the shears on both sides. Next, use the spine of your chef’s knife to remove all of the scales, as you’re holding the fish by the tail with a strong grip. With your paring knife, cut a slit along the belly from the tail and all the way up to the head; finally, pull out the innards. When you’re ready to serve this symbolic food, just fork off a few pieces onto each plate as an appetizer.

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The final symbolic food group is black eyed peas, which also stand for the desire to have many merits in the eyes of God. To make their cooking time shorter, soak for a short amount of time in hot water by boiling for 2-3 minutes and then removing the pot from the stove, allowing it to stand for 60-90 minutes. To cook the peas, drain the water and replace with fresh, cold water for cooking. Bring it all to a boil and once boiling, reduce it to a simmer and leave it to cook for up to an hour.

May your cooking be just as enjoyable as the year ahead of you!