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Sep 4 2013

Wishing You a Sweet–But Not Too Sweet–New Year

By at 12:04 pm

drizzling honey onto apple rosh hashanahA few days ago I was busy in my kitchen preparing a double batch of honey cakes for the upcoming Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. In between measuring out cups of honey, sugar, and flour, I found myself thinking about the traditional blessing for a happy, healthy, and sweet new year that Jews around the world wish each other in the weeks and days leading up to the holiday.

Mostly, I rattle off the words without much deeper thought as to what I am actually saying. Naturally I want my loved ones and the Jewish people as a whole to be blessed with health and happiness. Sweetness sure sounds like a good thing, too. But, as I peered down into the bowl of gooey cake batter, I started to wonder what type of sweetness I was talking about and whether it was such a good blessing to be doling out after all. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 26 2011

Looking for Some (Free) Rosh Hashanah Services? Look No Further

By at 9:01 am

So many synagogues, so little time.

Every year, at some point in September, I get to my annual “Oh shit, where are we going to go for services?” moment. First there’s the family negotiation–are we going to visit my family? My husband’s family? Who’s hosting? Where will we be for which holiday? But now that we’ve got a kid in the mix, it’s even harder. She can’t always make it through late nights of meals, and she certainly can’t make it through evening services (or morning services, for that matter). We try, but she’s only 2, so usually we have to escape early.

So now we’re trying to figure out where the best toddler services are, and when, and whether we need tickets… and I came across an incredible High Holiday services roundup. It’s a really comprehensive list to get you started. They even have a phone number and email to get a personalized High Holiday service consultation. What service!

And if, like some of us, you’re looking for where you can go that’s on a drop-in basis (or free), check out Ohel Ayalah (in Manhattan and Brooklyn), Union Temple (in Brooklyn), and Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (in Manhattan). But if there’s somewhere else that you’d like to check out, be sure to ask about fees, as lots of synagogues and minyans offer reduced rate tickets for grad students and young families. And lots of children’s services are free! Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 19 2011

The Best Tasting Honey for Rosh Hashanah

By at 3:25 pm

Apples and honey are the quintessential Rosh Hashanah snack. They’re sweet, just like we hope the new year will be. But there are so many kinds of honey, and even more kinds of apples, and they’re not all created (or priced) equally. Here at the Kveller headquarters we’ve done some hard reporting and taste tested six kinds of honey with three different varieties of apples to help you choose the best combination. Remember, check with your pediatrician, but honey is generally not recommended for babies under the age of 1.

Without further ado, here are our findings:

Honey Acres Beekeeper’s Best Clover honey, 4oz. ($4.00)

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This was the lightest colored honey we tasted, and the favorite. With tones of orange, and an airiness that none of its competitors had, it went well with all of the apples we tried, but was best with Gala apples.

Honey Acres Beekeeper’s Best Wildflower honey, 4oz. ($4.00)

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This honey was slightly darker than its clover counterpart, and had a rich maple taste that stayed in our mouths for a long time. There were notes of chocolate, as well, and we guessed that this would be a great choice for a peanut butter and honey sandwich. It really sang with the Granny Smith apples.

Pure Buckwheat Honey 16 oz. $7.49

AUT_0116.JPGThis was a divisive honey. One taster thought it tasted “like an insect” and was turned off by the very dark brown color and the aroma of molasses, but another thought it tasted like a thick beer. It also reminded us of bran muffins and wheat germ. Some thought it was best with the Granny Smith apples, but others preferred it with Red Delicious.

Gunters Pure Honeycomb 12 oz. $6.69

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This came in a box instead of a jar, and we ate little chunks of it set on top of apple slices. Though all honey is sticky, this was by far the stickiest of the honeys we tried, and the membrane of the honeycomb was gummy and stayed in our mouths longer than we really liked. Somehow it tasted healthy, and unprocessed (which it is) and we found that we liked that more in theory than we did in practice. Its strange character went best with Gala apples.

Beekeeper’s Best Extra Virgin Honey, 12oz, $9.00

Extra Virgin Honey appears to be the same thing as raw honey, which is the concentrated nectar from flowers, unpasteurized and unprocessed. It’s a little thicker than peanut butter, and a milky white color. It reminded us of fudge, or ice cream that wasn’t cold. It had to be spread on the apples, rather than dipped, but we loved it with the Red Delicious.

Honey Acres Cinnamon Creme Honey 8 oz $6.50

Cinnamon Creme Honey is honey whipped with cinnamon, and it really knocked our socks off with its richness and warmth. There were tones of mint, which surprised us, and though it tasted great by itself, it felt a little bit disingenuous, like cheating, to spread it on apple slices. We don’t think it really counts as honey for your Rosh Hashanah table, which is good, because it didn’t pair well with any of the apples. It was delicious, but we recommend trying it on a toasted bagel, or heating it up and pouring it over vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy, and have a Sweet New Year!

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