Last night I attended my very first Rosh Hashanah celebration, and gladly rang in the new year. It seems like everyone I know is more than ready to bid a bittersweet farewell to 2010 and get a fresh start, already. I must admit to knowing very little about Rosh Hashanah, but I did know that apples (symbolizing life) and honey (symbolizing sweetness) are traditional. Because the hostess told me so.
I wasn't sure what to contribute to the party- Arugula Salad with Chocolate & Pistachios was a major contender, but in the end Japantown solved all my problems, as it usually does. I stopped in Nijiya Market and paced the aisles until I found something suitable. This is perhaps my favorite type of mission: Okay! Rosh Hashanah! Japanese grocery store! Apples & honey! No eggs, no dairy, no gelatin! Go!
The marshmallows you see above are amazing. Fluffy as clouds, with an apple gelee in the center. One hesitant taster said, "It's so weird- you expect artificial apple flavor, but it's real apples!". I like the idea that a natural flavor can be so shocking. They also come in Grape (ew!), Custard, & Chocolate. The last two have dairy but no gelatin, but check! The ingredient list changes from time to time, I've noticed.
And just when I was about to go for the intimidating Apple Gel Drink (how would you share that at a party? do shots?), I found these! Apple Honey hard candies...with a sour center. A very unexpected sour powder center. I choked. I'm hooked.
You know, I'm finding that when things are Not Going So Well, there are two very different ways to approach a party. I'm a fan of both.
The first is to simply pretend that Everything Is Fine. Put on a dress, drink a drink, play some rowdy Scattegories, laugh & yell & be silly. It will be good for you, I swear. Your friends like to see you happy, your body will enjoy all the nice party endorphins, you'll sleep like a baby.
The second is to admit to yourself and to the party in general that Everything Is Not Fine. Put on a dress, cling to your hostess, stay busy fixing drinks, be shy, and sneak out well before 10pm. This method requires a sympathetic hostess, one who understands that when you raise your eyebrow & walk out, it means, "Thank you for a lovely evening. The food was fantastic, your friends are fascinating, and I can't believe I got to participate in such a warm, loving ringing in of the new year. But I have to leave before I cry on the beautiful challah." Again, this is a perfectly legit way to attend a party. Your friends understand- they've been there, for sho. They don't mind in the least, they're just happy to see you.