As most of you know Yom Kippur is headed our way on Monday. For many Jews (and most of my family for that matter), this is the one day of the year they end up in a synagogue. We also stay home from work, in order to stick it to the Gentiles, and constantly exclaim at each other things like “you’re watching television? On Yom Kippur?!!” The other main defining feature is the fast. Abstaining from food from sun down to sun down. The general point of this is to spend the day atoning and not be distracted by other facets of life like eating and grooming. I tend to find the opposite effect among my friends and family, in that the fast creates almost unbearable crabbiness and obsession with food. What will the pre-fast meal be and
do complex carbs or protein keep you full longer, and what will your first break-fast bite be? We spend most of the day (other than the couple of hours at services) complaining how hungry we are, and I spend most of the day cooking and preparing for the break-fast, listening to periodic outbursts of “why are you cooking? Are you trying to torture us?”. For the first time in a few years I am having friends over and making a full meal, including my usual main dish for Jewish holidays, a brisket. About 10 years ago when I was first out of school, I worked in an office across the street from Berkeley Bowl and decided to host a Hanukkah dinner. I wandered into the Bowl’s butcher counter the day of the dinner and asked for a brisket and the butcher laughed at me. It turns out I am not the only Jew who likes to make brisket around Jewish holidays and they can be in somewhat short supply. After spending that year driving all over town until I found one, I now try to get them a few days ahead of time. When I was in my neighborhood grocery store getting flour the other day, I figured I would see what the stock was like. The bin that usually has them was empty and I started to panic, so I asked at the counter. The woman working disappeared for about 10 minutes and came back with a whole brisket (about 18lbs). She said they had just gotten it in and it was all they were getting until Tues. I immediately asked for a cut of about 7lbs. Normal people like about 4-5lb cuts but my household loves leftovers. When I wandered back after the butcher did his work, I ended up with a 9.3lb piece of meat. I couldn’t refuse it. It was the most beautiful cut of brisket I have ever purchased. I am contemplating cutting off a 2lb hunk to brine into corned beef, which might make cooking for YK a bit easier. One of these years I will learn to pre-order my meat. I hope you all have an easy fast and check back on Tues for a run-down of my holiday meal!