The Nosher through JTA — For a lot of Jews, predominantly Sephardim, Rosh Hashanah meals prolong approach past apples and honey. Among the many quite a few simanim (meals which have symbolic or linguistic significance for the upcoming yr) are squashes and gourds.
The Aramaic phrase for gourds and squashes is kara, which sounds just like the Hebrew phrase kra, which suggests “to tear up.” Subsequently, consuming them at Rosh Hashanah conveys the hope that any harsh decrees needs to be torn up, and that any deserves over the previous yr needs to be judged favorably by God.
However this custom is predicated on greater than phrase play: Gourds’ thick skins symbolize safety and their golden flesh symbolizes abundance for the upcoming yr.
Additionally, identical to pomegranates, late summer time and fall are the seasons for squash and gourds, which strengthens their affiliation with Rosh Hashanah.
Precisely how gourds are eaten varies. Moroccan Jews feast on pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seed “croutons.” Syrian Jews eat candied gourd flavored with rosewater. Turkish and Greek Jews make a candied, pureed pumpkin confection referred to as dulce de calabasa. However the sweetest of all is Tunisian pumpkin jam.
Flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, and rose water, Tunisian pumpkin jam is nice, aromatic and versatile. Unfold it on sizzling (leftover challah) toast with a beneficiant smear of butter, dollop it in the course of a Linzer cookie, pair it along with your favourite cheeses — the probabilities are infinite.
Variations of this jam are widespread all through Sephardic communities. Some sub rosewater for orange blossom water, many add mastic (a spice that has a little bit of pine style, and is usually utilized in Center Jap desserts). Some add blanched pistachios, others add walnuts. Some substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash. In “The E-book of Jewish Meals,” Claudia Roden features a Syrian recipe for spaghetti squash jam, which has a vermicelli-like texture. These jams are generally served with kaymak, a wealthy cream that’s thick sufficient to chop (the closest substitute is clotted cream).
In contrast to honey cake, pumpkin jam — nonetheless you make it — lasts properly past the Excessive Holidays. When it’s chilly outdoors and also you’ve damaged all of your new yr’s resolutions, you’ll nonetheless have a bit of pot of sweetness by your facet.
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