The food that never comes to mind during a slow-moving fast day is the three-layer vegetable kugel that was traditionally served at Grandma’s on any Yom Tov. I called it Yontiff Kugel and my sister called it The Flag. This celebratory side dish is all about presentation. It’s stratified chopped broccoli, carrot and cauliflower mixtures appeal to the eye. That’s right—a table-top beauty contest. My husband, Dov, believes it creates an impression of culinary skill. My vegetarian and keto-dieting guests laud its vegetable composition.
Although I believe my kugel tastes rather dull, it went over big time on the Shabbat of Sukkot. The guests devoured the dish and, by the end of the meal, were passing a nearly empty platter of cooled-off scraps. I was embarrassed to have run short, but gratified they liked it. Dov privately offered, “Next time, make two!”
I have avoided the next time because it is a potchkerei—Yiddish for a labor-intensive project. But we are taught that the efforts we expend l’kavod Shabbat—to honor the Sabbath—are rewarded by G-d. Also, certain guests have requested a reappearance of the kugel. So, this Shabbat, I am serving a grand total of two, three-layer vegetable kugels. Because a family tradition of serving a dish on Yom Tov does not preclude its deployment on Shabbat. I’ve now stopped calling it Yontiff Kugel and have renamed it Degel, Hebrew for flag.
However you achieve it, honor Shabbat, please your guests, and celebrate your family traditions.
And don’t forget to make two.
ELLEN FISCHER IS A CONTRIBUTING WRITER TO JLIFE MAGAZINE.