Go international to break the fast

Charred Cauliflower with Yogurt-Tahini Spread. Photo: Michael Kahn


To serve an assortment of small plates to begin or even comprise an entire meal is a strong tradition throughout the world. There are tapas in Spain, meze in Turkey and Greece, antipasti in Italy, banchan in Korea, and salatim in Israel, which, according to famed Israeli chef Michael Solomonov, is a tradition we borrowed from the Palestinians. 

Most American Jews may not think of their break fast meals as a cousin to tapas, meze, and those other small-plate traditions, but think about it. How many of you end your Yom Kippur fast with an elaborate heavy meal that includes a line up of appetizers, entrees (such as brisket or roast chicken), vegetables, and a baked potato? 

Fasting for 24 hours and abstaining from cooking during that time calls for foods that are lighter and that are quick and easy to prepare. Perhaps you traditionally break your fast with blintzes, or lox, cream cheese and bagels, or noodle kugel, or hummus, or a plate of assorted cakes or cookies, or even that iconic Jell-O fruit salad so popular with our parents’ generation. Have you noticed that all of those dishes I mentioned above can be prepared in advance or quickly assembled?

In keeping with the small-plates tradition, then, I offer a series of salatim recipes from Jewish cuisines around the world. Together, these small plates make more than enough for a satisfying and delicious break fast meal, accompanied, of course, by your holiday challah. Or, if you prefer, you can choose one or two of these small plates to serve alongside your platter of lox, bagels, and cream cheese.

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Gmar Hatimah Tovah. 

Margi Lenga Kahn is the mother of five and grandmother of six. A cooking instructor at the Kitchen Conservatory, she is currently working on a project to preserve the stories and recipes of heritage cooks. She welcomes your comments and suggestions at [email protected].