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A Sweet New Year Filled With Food, Friends and Love

Happy New Year all whether you are Jewish or not, I'm wishing you all a sweet year to come. The week between the New Year and Yom Kippur is one full of celebration and reflection and of course food. It's a time when we gather with our families and usher in the year with traditional foods many of which are sweet to usher in a sweet New Year; apples and honey, sweet rather than savory challah, honey cake. We anxiously eat a big feast before Kol Nidre, so that we fill our bellies in anticipation of the fast to come. We wish each other an easy fast and spend the next 24 hours in prayer, repentance and introspection. Sundown comes, the shofar blows and we all join our families for the large break-fast celebration usually filled with "appetizing" and spreads -- lox, bagels, kugel, smoked fish salads and so much more.

Notice, food is a common thread, it is again the unifying force that brings us together in celebration. As someone whose parents are no longer here, I am very lucky to have an extended family of friends with whom I spend the holidays. I look back at the amazing meals mom made, having learned many of the recipes from my dad's mom. My grandmother only knew as she would call it "Jewish food" and my mom learned from her how to make many of these wonderful traditional foods. I am lucky to have found a treasure trove of recipes written on index cards from my mom. Grandma never wrote down a recipe, she said "eh, who does that? I put a little of this and a little of that, cook it for as long as it needs to cook and then it's done." Her foods were never what you could call healthy, in fact salad she would say is for the animals; salad for was eaten only when you had appetizing foods and then it was just a slab of iceberg and if you were lucky it had a blob of russian dressing. Chicken fat or peanut oil were the cooking fats of choice and vegetables were never really the color they came from in the wild but rather all took on a grey hue since they were either from a can or just cooked until there wasn't a nutritional drop left. Yet somehow it all tasted comforting and delicious and we never worried about calories or cholesterol!

For the New Year, dad, who learned from Grandma, would make the most decadent chopped liver. All the ingredients had to be warm he would say, that's the key. The livers, only chicken, with onions fried in schmaltz, (yes dad would render his own) warm hard boiled eggs, all chopped by hand in a wooden bowl and seasoned to perfection. Here is the recipe