Yesterday marked the Jewish New Year. For the past thirty years of my life, I have spent the first day of Rosh Hashana at my grandma’s (a.k.a. Nana). We have a very specific ritual. We start in the morning at our respective temples, meet around noon at Nana and Poppy’s temple (to be properly paraded past their various friends), back to Nana and Poppy’s house for our customary lunch, afternoon relaxing and a giant spectacle of a dinner.
All my life I have touted that Nana was a great cook. And as I have previously mentioned, she is not the ordinary run of the mill, “makes a couple good casseroles” type of cook. She is gourmet in every sense. Her baked goods are endless, her traditional and impossible to recreate family recipes are incredible and she has a cooker’s intuition like none other. Needless to say, big shoes to fill!
This past summer Nana suffered a compression fracture in her back. And although she is on her way to make a full recovery, she doesn’t have the energy necessary to make a meal of this magnitude. Frankly, no one in the history of the world has the energy necessary to make a meal of this magnitude. It was almost a blessing, though.
If Nana had to surrender this meal because she literally was too ill, it would have been heart breaking for the whole family. Now, we were forced to rally the troops and recreate her masterpiece with her overseeing it. And after taking a tiny look into what was necessary to make this meal, I realize how very unbelievable it is that she has done it for as long as she has!
The energy, skill and money to put on a meal like this is immeasurable. Year after year, we all carried on with how perfect her chicken soup was. Year after year, we have all commented on how that year’s gefilte fish was the best. Year after year, we have told her that thirteen kinds of cookies were too much. This year, however, I finally had a minor look into what she has actually been doing. This lady is not a grandmother…she’s a machine…a super human…a woman unlike any other!
Thank goodness everyone chipped in, my efforts being the smallest. My aunt was dedicated for weekends on end making some of the hardest components of the meal which I was so grateful for. My mom made a couple dishes that were exact replicas to Nana’s which I think may warrant a metal, in my opinion. It really was a family effort.
In some ways it was almost more magical than Nana slaving away and making her traditional meal. We were all so dedicated to Nana’s Rosh Hashana legacy living on and we didn’t have to give up Nana being there to do so. I feel so blessed to have the family that I do, so blessed to have my children experience Nana’s Rosh Hashana and so blessed that I have grandparents that are so unbelievably capable and dedicated to our family. What a great way to start a new year (kenahora knock on wood…for my family’s sake who I’m sure are knocking on wood as they read this).
P.S. In case it wasn’t properly conveyed, my grandfather is also AMAZING! And I totally owe him his own blog where I document all his impressive attributes. For nothing more than do you think a woman like Nana would be married to a bum?!?!