The Ghost of Brisket Past

I’m off from work today, due to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur is the day of atonement for my Jewish friends, which marks the end of the high holy days.  They celebrate it with fasting and long religious services; some will even go the day without everyday non-essentials (TV, internet, etc).  Based on what I’ve done so far today, Yahweh is very displeased with half of me.

Just more than one week ago was the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.  I had marked it on my calendar because I had singled out the occasion for a culinary adventure.  In Rosh Hashanahs past, my family would gather at my grandmother’s house for a big meal.  I’m not sure when the last time we actually did this was.  Between my cousins and I rarely being home all at once and Grammy’s declining stamina, it could have been more than four years ago.  She’s gone now, so I decided I’d try to make a little Jew feast for myself this year.

I asked my mother which of Grammy’s recipes she had.  The matzoh ball soup recipe was MIA, and the challah was always store-bought.  The more we thought back to her repertoire, the more we realized that she didn’t really make a lot of traditional foods.  She made ribs more often than she made latkes; but that’s what happens when you have the oldest living Confederate (Jewish) widow for your forbear.  The one thing that was always guaranteed to be on the table was a brisket, but that recipe was apparently taken with her to the great beyond.  So, thanks to the Internet, I found a recipe that sounded enjoyable.

Brisket is a time-consuming thing to cook.  If it weren’t for the fasting, it would be the perfect Yom Kippur dish.  You’d have all that time to reflect on your transgressions.  The recipe I used called for an absurd amount of onions, so there’s even a little physical discomfort involved to compliment your spiritual turmoil.

After cutting the onions, this was the widest I could open my eyes.
After cutting the onions, this was the widest I could open my eyes.

In the end, it came out all right.  It wasn’t as good as Grammy’s, but it wasn’t terrible either.  I felt I’d done her a little bit proud.  I cleaned my plate and wrapped up the leftovers, satisfied that, should I be as long-lived as Grammy was, I have about 64 years to get it right.

The finished product.  L'shanah tovah!
The finished product. L'shanah tovah!

~ T


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