From 1964
Rosh Hashanah recipes from 1964. (William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History)

Over the last 80 years, the JN published more than 300 Rosh Hashanah Recipes.

This column might be a bit late for Rosh Hashanah, but hopefully, you will still find it useful. I hadn’t planned on writing about this topic, but longtime JN food writer Annabel Cohen’s recent article about great apple-related recipes for Rosh Hashanah, “Sweet Dreams are Made of These,” inspired me (and made me hungry!).

So, I decided to cruise the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History for holiday recipes. Using the search terms “Rosh Hashanah” and “Recipes,” I discovered that, over the last 80 years, the JN published more than 300 Rosh Hashanah Recipes. And it is likely I missed a few additional recipes lurking in the pages of the JN under different holiday spellings. The bottom line is: if you like cooking … or eating … or cooking and eating … the recipes are very interesting reading. 

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair

There are holiday recipes from every decade, beginning in the 1940s to the present. Among the earliest are those found in an article, “Menu Suggestions for the Holidays,” in the Sept. 12, 1947/New Year 5708 issue of the JN. It featured recipes for basics such as sweet potato casserole, halibut ring and Kashe. The Sept. 8, 1950, issue of the JN had a unique twist. Famous comedian, Groucho Marx, “Spills Family Secret,” which was a family recipe for “Mushrooms Under Glass.”

Over the next few decades, there are lots of articles that specifically focus upon “Recipes for Rosh Hashanah.” In the Sept. 4, 1964, JN, an item under that title featured a complete holiday menu with a main dish of chicken, sweet potato, and prune tzimmes with cauliflower casserole on the side, and a carrot torte for dessert.

From 2018
William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History

Until the 1980s, the holiday recipes are largely traditional and European. But, then, like society trends at-large, recipes began to change. For example, there was guidance for healthier concoctions in pieces such as “Enjoy Holiday Treats, But Keep Cholesterol Low” in the Sept. 8, 1988, JN (alas, a signal of the end of worry-free eating?). More recently, there is “Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Oh My” by Annabel Cohen (Sept. 9, 2014). One can also see influences from abroad entering the recipe lexicon. See “Holiday Challah With A Spanish Flavor” (Sept. 18, 1992). 

From 2010
William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History

There are also great stories of how recipes and food preparation bring families together. An article in the Sept. 2, 2010, JN featured the Korelitz family — Sheryl, Seth and daughters, Hannah and Zoe — and their Rosh Hashanah preparations, which included their recipe for homemade gefilte fish. I also liked the article about the annual kreplach-making marathon conducted by the Marcus family, where they made enough kreplach for the year, first eating them for a Rosh Hashanah meal. 

From 2013
William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History

I’ll conclude my food adventure with the person who is responsible for the idea of this column, Annabel Cohen. She first appears in the JN as a caterer as well as food lecturer around Detroit. In the 1990s, she began to write articles for the JN, and ever since, she has been — if you will pardon the pun — a JN “staple.” Many of us have been made very happy and content during the holidays because of Annabel’s culinary skills.   

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

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