I've done a lot less cooking than you might expect from someone who blogs about Shabbat cooking. For Rosh HaShanah, we were invited out for the first night and first day lunch, went to a potluck for second night dinner, and did a cooperative meal at our house for second day lunch. So not much cooking for me there.
I made a huge pot of clear vegetable soup with egg and flour dumplings for the potluck. I got the dumpling recipe from the Claudia Roden Book of Jewish Food--they are sort of amoeba shaped and kind of cross between matzah balls and the eggs in egg drop soup. In other words, really good. I had to make that soup again and again for successive meals. Everyone had colds and I put a lot of ginger and black pepper in the soup. I made another pot for second day lunch, and a totally wonderful non-dairy polenta lasagne. I put it together from the component parts of two recipes in The Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. I need to type out the recipe so maybe I'll do that later and post it separately.
For Shabbat Shuvah I made a pretty boring menu:
red lentil soup with lemon, garlic and mint
cauliflower and chickpea curry with coconut milk
roasted beet salad with fresh basil
My son ate up all the carrot kugel. We had leftovers of the rich curry, no one was in the mood for that this week.
For Yom Kippur, I totally forgot that I had to prepare food for the pre-fast meal and the breakfast. For the prefast meal I whipped up another batch of vegetable soup with egg and flour dumplings. We had to eat it before 5PM to get to Kol Nidre services, and we were late anyway. We brought nothing to the communal breakfast. I felt guilty about that, but to assuage my guilt, everyone else brought heavily dairy food that we were afraid to eat because we thought we'd be sick to our stomachs.
I led children's services on both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. My children's services aren't really services. When I was a kid, my parents brought us to these great family services at my totally formal, elegant Reform Temple. There was a choir and an organ, and majestic English prayers in the old Union prayerbook. Not very Jewish, but I recall puzzling over "he that hath clean hands and a pure heart, who hath not taken my name in vain and hath not sworn deceitfully." I always got a lot out of those services, though maybe not what I would want my child to get out of Jewish prayer. I was a sanctimonious little girl, and I loved elevated language. Well, that part is still true.
My "service" is more like a little class, to make sure everyone knows what the holiday is about, what are the greetings, what's happening in the services, what's a shofar, what does "sealed in the book of life" mean, that kind of thing. Then we read a story and discuss it, and make a brachah and have snack. The group is generally mixed, little toddlers with children of eight or nine, and some parents, so it has to kind of reach them all. Little kids are very thoughtful, from about age four or so, they can talk about sin and repentence with a lot of intelligence. Given the chance, I mean. This was the first year I also did the Rosh HaShanah service, and I decided that instead of talking about sin, we would talk about what a new year marks. I asked them when their birthdays were and also...when baseball season starts, and when is the World Series. (The boy in day school perked up at that.) The older children were very interested in the whole idea of the lunisolar calendar. It's too bad I understand the science of calendar making so poorly.
I also led the Neilah service on Yom Kippur. For those not in the know, this is the last service of the 25 hour fast. The usual custom is to open the ark in which the Torah scrolls are kept, so that everyone is obligated to stand. Neilah means locking, it's the service of the shutting of the gates of repentence. I always find this a moving service, and our congregation prays it with tremendous feeling, everyone kind of egging each other on. They sing loudly and people weep. Well, I always do, maybe not everyone does, but I think I'm not the only one. I must not be, we have kleenex boxes out everywhere. Leading this group, when I get to the line: "Anu ma'amerecha, v'ata ma'amerenu" (forgive bad transliteration--roughly--we are your choice, and you are our choice) I feel a rush and I tremble.
Okay one more menu--this weekend I made:
red lentil soup--just with lemon and curry powder, made at the last minute
broccoli and carrot kugel--improvised
roasted sweet and white potatoes with garlic and shallots
baked tofu (the usual, garlic, sesame oil and tamari with black pepper, random proportions)
Yes, it was boring but everything was easy to put together and very good. We were invited out for lunch, where we had some pleasurably spiritual discussion of the meaning of blessing God. Then after lunch, we sang the grace after meals out loud and then some zmirot, which we don't always do. My son sat up in a chair, wearing a kippah and a serious expression, and clapped along with the bensching (the grace) and then with the singing. It was beautiful to see, also to hear him say "Amen!" at all the right places and to repeat "shabbat menuchah!" in his sweet little voice. Life has so many pleasures.