By Jeff Taratoot | Guest Columnist, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Rosh Hashanah is bittersweet for native Atlantan Lisa Berger Boardman.
Lisa grew up in the Emory area, attended Briarcliff High School and was active in BBG. In June, Lisa lost her mother, Robyn.
As Rosh Hashanah approaches, Lisa is pleased that her mom spent time teaching her to cook. Robyn, being a very hands-on and loving mom, instilled the importance and value of family and spending the holidays together. Lisa describes the food as “always decadent and plentiful, and the memories are engraved in my mind for a lifetime.”
Lisa knows Mom will be looking down and smiling as she makes sweet kugel for the High Holidays. Lisa will continue the tradition of being with her own husband and family, as well as her father, Marty; her sister, Lori; and maybe even her brother, Eric, who now lives in Philadelphia.
When Robyn Crook Regenbaum was growing up in Johannesburg, South Arica, her mother, Mona, taught her that community service was vital for the Jewish community to thrive. Years later, after she moved to Atlanta in 1994, married Allan and had three children, she became involved.
Robyn has served on the board of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel, hosted many dinners of honor for Greenfield Hebrew Academy and Yeshiva Atlanta, served as Sisterhood president at Congregation Ariel, and is on the board for Jewish Women’s Connection of Atlanta.
But Robyn’s priority has always been her family. When asked about the holidays, Robyn said they are her “passion. I like to plan my menus a full month before the holidays, and we typically host 20 to 25 people both nights of Rosh Hashanah as well as Sukkot, when Allan and Shawn (the youngest son) build our sukkah in the back yard.”
Out of all the dishes Robyn prepares, brisket is her favorite because the recipe was handed down from her grandmother to her mother to her. Robyn’s mother died in 2014, and when Robyn prepares brisket, she does not mind sharing that happy tears flow as she thinks of her mom, family and friends in Atlanta and South Africa.
Irene and Abe Schwartz moved from Paddock Hills in Cincinnati to Atlanta in 1992. Irene knew her husband was aging, and she would need support from her daughter, Lisa Schwartz Gordon. Lisa was thrilled to have her parents move to Atlanta, and they bought a house within walking distance in Dunwoody.
Although Abe has passed away, Irene continues to prepare Rosh Hashanah dinner. Her favorite is matzah ball soup, which she got from a cookbook with a copyright date of 1947. When describing her mom’s soup, Lisa says, “The smell is just delicious and fills the entire house.”
I too have been blessed by HaShem. When I was growing up, my mom, Bunnie, was a gifted cook. For the past 20-plus years, my wife, Esther, has prepared the family Rosh Hashanah meals. Esther sets the most beautiful table, with a crisp white tablecloth my grandmother made, each plate decorated with a whole fresh red apple, a side of honey, with yellow and white flowers, all served on fine china that is used only for the High Holidays.
For me, the food and table represent new beginnings but also a feeling that tonight is different and a return to what matters in life: family and friends, life, and our Creator.
Jeff Taratoot is the owner of A Caring Approach Home Care.
Sweet Noodle Kugel
From Lisa Berger Boardman
8-ounce package of wide noodles
4 eggs well beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
Juice and grated rind of one lemon
¼ pound melted butter
½ cup sugar or sugar substitute
1 jar apricot preserves
Cook and drain the noodles. Combine all the other ingredients except the preserves and mix with the noodles. Spray a casserole pan and place half the noodle mixture in it. Cover with the apricot preserves. Top with the remaining noodle mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
From Robyn Crook Regenbaum
1 cup onion soup mix
2 large onions, sliced
Sear the brisket on all sides on a cook top or stove. Pour water on the sides of the brisket in a pan (brisket should not be completely covered). Pour onion soup mix on the dry top of the brisket. Add the onions on top of the onion soup mix. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes until the onions are brown. Cover with foil and bake for 2½ hours. Slice and serve. Serves 15 to 18 people.
From Dianne Barron
1 cup warm water
Pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons dry yeast
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5-6 cups bread flour
2½ cups apples cut into ½-inch chunks
Mixture of cinnamon and sugar
Mix the warm water with a pinch of sugar and the yeast and let sit until the yeast begins to bubble (about 5 minutes). Add to the yeast mixture the vegetable oil, 2 eggs, ½ cup sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Add the bread flour and mix until the dough is smooth but not dry. Shape into a ball, place in an oiled metal mixing bowl and cover with a warm towel. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size. For the filling, mix the apples with a light coating of sugar and cinnamon. Heat the raisins in the microwave for a few seconds in a bowl with your favorite liquor, then add to the apples. When the dough has risen, roll it out until it is approximately 1 inch in thickness. Press the apple-raisin mixture across the top of the dough. Turn it on itself to create a round form for the holidays. Place on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper or in a 10-inch spring-form pan. Mix the remaining egg and sugar and spread over the surface of the challah. Sprinkle cinnamon and coarse sugar on top if desired. Let rise until doubled, 1 to 1½ hours. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Matzah Ball Soup
From Irene Schwartz
1 onion, cut lengthwise in quarters
2 carrots, cut lengthwise
2 parsnips, cut lengthwise
2 celery stalks, cut lengthwise
1 tablespoon salt
For matzah balls:
4 egg whites
½ cup matzah meal
2 teaspoons dried onions
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Put the chicken in a pot with cold water. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam. Add the onion, carrots, parsnips and celery stalks. Add the salt. Cover and simmer about an hour until the chicken is tender. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, mix the matzah meal, dried onions, cinnamon, dried parsley and white pepper. Pour in the egg whites and mix. Let sit 15 minutes. Form walnut-size balls, using a mixture of water and oil to lubricate your hands. Drop the balls into boiling salted water. Cover the pot and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from burner and let stand 30 minutes. Add to the soup.