Planning for the chagim, part I

simple apple for Rosh Hashana

Do you know what my husband and I did on Monday night? We had a meeting. A meeting, for goodness sake, to discuss our upcoming menu for the chagim.

Those pesky Jewish high holidays are getting an awful early (Gregorian) start this year, with Erev Rosh Hashana falling out on September 8th.

When we lived in Israel, the holidays always seemed to sneak up on us, but it was no big deal. I’d just plan out a menu, go to the grocery store, get everything I needed — and then some, and come home to cook.

In America — and especially in the hinterland of Kansas — I feel like planning a menu for the holidays requires some sort of super power. Or at least a very detailed Excel chart.

So as not to end up in a last-minute panic, my sweet and patient husband (because you know he would have rather been checking his fantasy teams) suggested that we meet about the holiday menu. In just over an hour, we managed to:

  • Decide what meals we want to host, and which ones we hope to get invited out for (anyone in Kansas City interested in getting a copy of that latter list? No no, I jest. Sort of.)
  • Make a list of all the people we would like to invite for meals — and even send out a few emails
  • Tentatively outline our menus so we know what we need to order from our Kosher Co-op and what we need to order from our meat place

Still on the agenda for our follow-up meeting (!) is figuring out our food budget for the month of September. I know I need an increase from our regular $400, but I’m hopeful that with some careful planning, we can keep that increase to a minimum.

Another one of my goals for this year’s high holiday season is to not drive myself completely INSANE with the cooking. There is a season in life for having umpteen different side dishes and four main courses and three starters and six fancy desserts. This is not that season. This is the season for streamlining.

(Repeat after me: This is the season for streamlining.)

Over the next few weeks, I’ll try to talk a little bit about what I’m doing to streamline my chag menu planning, including sharing recipes and tips for sticking to your budget. If you have ideas, questions or comments, I would LOVE to hear them. Lay ’em on me!

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