The sticky, gooey honey dripped all over my daughter’s face, cascaded down to her dress, blanketed our kitchen table and stealthily dripped to the floor. As I felt my blood pressure begin to rise and my patience reach its breaking point, I somehow noticed the exuberant smile on her face.
To her, the holidays aren’t muddied with the chaos of getting the house ready, the food prepared, the work calendar cleared and those holiday cards addressed, stamped and mailed. For my youngest daughter, the meaning of Rosh Hashanah remains pure: a sticky, gooey, sweet start. Oh, and apple cake and kugel.
“Are you making your apple cake? And what about noodle kugel?” she asked, her face still plastered with honey. “Of course,” I answered. What would the high holidays be without apple cake and kugel?
Over the years, I’ve learned that people have very strong convictions when it comes to kugel. Should you have savory or sweet kugel for the very important break-fast meal? Each person holds strong to their convictions and vehemently argues trying to persuade others to join their side of the kugel war. Truthfully, I secretly enjoy listening to the debate and often wonder which is better on an empty stomach and a full soul: sweet or savory. So, I mix it up. Some years, it’s savory and other years, sweet. This year: savory.
Going gluten-free doesn’t mean we can’t have apple cake and noodle kugel. Instead, I see it as an opportunity to mix things up and modernize some age-old traditions. So, you won’t find sugar and margarine in this apple cake recipe, and you won’t even find noodles in this noodle kugel. I like to think these recipes have one foot deeply rooted in the history and culture of our past and one foot embracing new customs.