The High Holidays began Sunday night in Jewish homes around the world, ushered in with a feast to mark Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year,” in the Judaic calendar. As I buzzed around that afternoon gathering the requisite honey and apples, choosing wine, baking a special round-shaped challah, and cooking dinner, I was reminded once again how essential food is to Jewish ritual. At every holiday, the dining table becomes a kind of altar and each cook a virtual priest who creates the spirit of the holiday through symbolic the foods. Sanctity is homemade.
In my travels up and down stairs and around tables at the restaurant, I get lots of questions about our cheese list. I’m often surprised by the cheeses people steer towards, and by which cheeses never get ordered. I can’t seem to unearth predictable patterns, and perhaps that’s due to the wide range of knowledge levels out there. The one standby rule, which is my favorite, is that EVERYONE likes ALL of our cheeses once they take a bite. Never have I had to make the terrifying, rejected-food-walk back to the kitchen with a cheese plate.