This isn't to say that the holiday meal isn't a facet of other religions, but the Jews have managed to pump symbolism into nearly everything that's placed at the dinner table. I suppose 5769 years gives you time to think about these things.
Sundown on Monday night marked the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. As far as food symbols go, I've always liked the Rosh Hashanah ones: a round challah to symbolize the perfect new year to come, apples dipped in honey and honey cake to symbolize a sweet new year. For a people who's holidays generally recount the tales of people trying to kill them, these traditions are, for lack of a better word, kind of sweet, right?
Often times, holidays, and their associated food, remind me of what I can't have, keeping me - and my separate plate - at a noticeable distance from everyone else. No matzoball soup, no challah, no latkes (unless they're home made and maztomeal free). Though I'm not particularly (okay... at all) religious, the cultural traditions of my religion are important to me and it's frustrating that now, as a celiac, my ability to participate is compromised. (...Anyone who scoffs that I'm being melodramatic only needs to be reminded of the Jewish mother stereotype, and her insistence that everyone needs to be eating more, to realize just how important food is to our nearly 6000 year old people. )
But apples and honey are naturally gluten free. And delicious. And I think of any symbolic act, its nice to participate in one that ensures a sweet new year.
For our mini holiday meal, we used the local honey bought at the Tremont Art and Cultural Fair. Tom keeps his own bees and has honey collected from each season. The fall honey is particularly dark while the spring honey (the one we got) tastes sweet, like really good honey you'd buy in the store - for like triple the price (our jar cost only $4). We also bought something called creamed honey. Spreadable with a butter like consistency, creamed honey is not a dairy product - its just very fine honey crystals blended together. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It was totally new to me, but I'm glad we tried something different. It's good too.
If you didn't make it over to Tom Roth's stand at the Tremont Fair, you can get honey from him all year round at 709 N. Main Street in Amherst, Ohio or call 440-988-2725. Whether you use this cool local honey or not, why not try out this tradition, dip one of falls favorite fruits in some golden, syrupy honey, and hope for a sweet new year!