Holiday Cooking For One

There are a LOT of Jewish holidays this time of year. First come Rosh Hashona, the Jewish New Year. Then 10 days later it’s Yom Kippur, when we fast and pray for forgiveness. What’s less well known are the holidays of Succos and Simchat Torah, which start a few days later. Succos lasts a whole week and ends with Simchat Torah. The first and last two days are Yom Tov, just like Rosh Hashona. That means we eat festive meals and are forbidden to do many kinds of work. We don’t travel by car, turn lights on and off, use the internet, etc. Exceptions are made for medical emergencies. If you need to drive to the hospital or call an ambulance, you don’t hesitate. But if you feel like visiting a friend in another town, it needs to wait until after the holiday is over. Or you visit a friend and stay for the entire holiday.

Rosh Hashona, the first days of Succos, and the last days of Succos/Simchat Torah are always on the same day of the week as each other. This year, the holidays fell on Thursday and Friday, meaning we go into Shabbos with the same travel restrictions ,and any guests need to stay for at least 3 entire days.

Rosh Hashona I had a whole family staying with me for 4 days, plus Leah was here. It was fun, but exhausting. I’d love to host them for Rosh Hashona every year, as well as a random Shabbos sometime- but it’s too soon to have so many guests again. I need quiet time.

For the first days of Succos, it was just me and Jack in the house. I made a lot of one-dish meals in foil pans so they’d be easy to carry downstairs into the succah. I mostly enjoyed the quiet time, but Jack was bored and pestered me a lot. In the future, I need to either invite somebody for Jack to hang out with or help him make arrangements to go away. I could have invited the oldest son from the family who stayed with us for Rosh Hashona- that way Jack would have had a companion and it wouldn’t have been overwhelming for me.

For the holiday that’s starting in about an hour, I’ve got the house entirely to myself. Jack and Leah are staying at her apartment in Queens, and they’re walking to various friends of hers for meals. I’m looking forward to quiet time to sit and read by myself, with no interruptions, but the festive holiday meals with just one person are going to be a little bit weird. I do plan to go to shul on Simchas Torah, when there will be food and drink and dancing with the Torah, so I won’t be completely alone for the entire holiday.

I did a very simplified holiday cooking. I still have some meatball/sausage stew left from last week that I’ll reheat for some of the meals. For tonight, I have a half turkey breast cooked with roasted vegetables, and a red rice pilaf. That’s going to last me for several meals, and the cooked turkey will be good cold too. If necessary, I can thaw some of the cooked chicken drumsticks left from Rosh Hashona.

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