Sunday, October 01, 2006

Just Kidding...

Actually, although the main crux of Yom Kippur, foodwise, is not eating it for 24 hours, somehow, like with every Jewish holiday, there's plenty of food stuff to talk about. There seems to be a wide range of pre-fast and break-fast meals across families, but this is what it boils down to, every year, for us:

Pre-fast dinner
We eat dinner around 5:30, so we can get to temple and finishes services as the sun is setting. It is a tradition in our family to get there late. It's a tradition we are actively trying to break, maybe this will be the year. The problem for me is that I'm not a huge fan of any of the pre-fast foods, so I never stuff myself like I probably should. Nonetheless, for the most part, the fast is never as bad as I anticipate.

  • chelo abgooshte gondi: This is also the traditional Friday night meal in Iranian Jewish families. It consists of a chicken soup with onions and chickpeas, and gondi -- round dumplings made with ground meat, chickpea flour, and, in our family, a heady spice mix. It is served over rice. For Yom Kippur, my mom makes it a little more bland and a little less salty, in hopes to prevent getting too thirsty during the next 24 hours with no water. She also adds some chunks of turkey thigh meat to the soup for added energy during the fast. I'll see if I can snap a picture tonight. In fact though, Joan Nathan wrote an article (sadly it's premium content -- you have to pay) about gondi for the New York Times a couple weeks ago.
  • tea: This is a point of contention for me. You drink tea so you don't get a headache during the fast. This derives from the fact that traditionally, Iranian Jews (well, Iranians at large), are addicted to caffeine: everyone drinks a cup of tea with breakfast, one in the afternoon, and one at night with fruit. Here's the thing though: you get a headache anyway, and caffeine dehydrates you. So, take it with a grain of salt (not too much salt because it will dehydrate you).
  • watermelon: This stems from the fact that my mother is obsessed with watermelon, and also to fight against dehydration.

Breaking the Fast
We usually end up getting home around 7:30, so the fast actually lasts about 25-26 hours. There are a couple pre-meal appetizers that Violet prepares ahead, so we don't end up eating our arms waiting for food to be put on the table. Besides the traditional stuff, my mother has been known to pack a cooler with orange juice and cookies on years when we've gone to a far-away temple with major parking lot traffic. We've also integrated this delicious pull-apart coffee cake from Gelson's bakery -- there's a thin (and getting thinner) line between traditional Iranian Jew and traditional Encino Jew.

  • faloodeh sib: Shredded apples sitting in a mixture of water, rosewater, and sugar, served ice cold. Sitting around not eating and drinking for a day, your mouth can get kind of dry and icky. This refresher washes the ick away in a most delicious way.
  • soft-boiled egg: Not sure why this is part of the mix. It's quick to prepare though, and feels very cozy.
  • baghali polo: Rice cooked with dill, saffron, and fava beans. It's one of my mom's specialties, and it tastes especially good post-Yom-Kippur.

For those of you who are fasting, hope it's an easy one for you!


  1. This wasn't the year.

    Also, no gondi pre-fast. Too salty. It'll make you thirsty. Don't you pay attention?

  2. Yes Tor, you're right! I forgot there was no gondi, and kind of missed it last night. Not to mention that Violet totally threw us for a loop with the lox, the sarshir (clotted cream) and halvah, and the wrong kind of polo tonight. She's breaking tradition all over the place... but, it sure was yummy.