The Goodman’s Rosh Hashanah Party traditionally shares dipping sliced apples into honey and serving Grammy Rose’s Apple Cake. Beyond that, the annual tradition, hosted at Debbie’s home, joined with her parents, Pat and Mort who visit from Florida over the Jewish holidays is all about a very full house of lots of family and close friends bringing in the New Year together. There doesn’t need to be a sign on the wall but if there were it would emphatically say: Let us all Celebrate Life Together, Let us all Celebrate a Meal Together, Let us all Share a Fun Time Together, with a Theme to it, that is! The Goodman’s are a team where there never seems to be too many cooks in the kitchen. Debbie refers to her style of cooking as recipe driven, Pat, who follows recipes in her extensive baking experience, also prepares food with her heart by memory and feel. Still, the legacies of Grammy Rose are lived on through Pat and as she shares her knowledge on baking and cooking and creating unforgettable memories with her daughter, Debbie and with all of her grandchildren.
On the Rosh Hashanah theme party, according to Debbie, “It began many years ago when traditionally every family would bring a dish to share at an event. It was about the time the Martha Stewart party foods were coming on the scene, everyone was trying to one up each other with these amazing dishes. Then, as families became busier with activities, and we all got real, we still wanted the event to have an interesting twist.” One year I traveled to Thailand and so Thai food was the theme that year,” she said, “then one year my cousin married a man from Portugal, so Portuguese food was the theme.” Each year a new theme is chosen, attending families each prepare a homemade theme dish from a specified Food Course; those who will be late are not designated Appetizers. This year’s theme was ‘New South’ with the implementation of lighter food ingredients to Southern Cooking, a trend particularly publicized with Paula Deen and as her son re-invents many of her original heavily buttered and creamed foods. For Pat, who loves creating memories preparing and sharing foods together, the theme idea offers a modern touch with traditional meaning, just enjoying time with family and sharing food together.
Some creative research and preparation with the ‘New South’ Theme provided some interesting flavorful dishes.
Over the course of her life, Pat always loved baking and the respect she earned among her circle of friends and throughout the community for the many sweet delicacies in her repertoire. Some of her homemade specialties included: brownies, a variety of cookies, flavorful cakes, sour cream coffee cake and buttery pound cakes, Irish lace cookies and many other sweets over the years she makes by heart including the recipe of her mother Rose, below, Grammy Rose’s Apple Cake. “My desserts were not the fancy kind,” she says “but they were all well-made and very delicious.”
Twenty-one years ago when Pat was fifty years old, her mother, ‘Grammy Rose’ of whom she was very close passed away. That very same year Pat, diagnosed with breast cancer says, “I felt very depressed, and I needed a therapy, a creative outlet that would keep me occupied.” Her outlet became baking. Pulling together all of the recipes she had collected over the years, including those of Grammy Rose and the mother of Mort, her husband, Pat set herself to creating. ” I had a lot of recipes too because I have always been the sort of person that if I ever tasted something I really liked I wasn’t shy about asking for the recipe.” Pat said.
Shortly thereafter, Pat then began a small business baking for others out of the apartment in Florida where she and Mort lived. “We had a big pantry” said Pat “and Mort would do all of the shopping and see to stocking all of the supplies I needed. We also kept a small freezer in the corner of the patio to store all of the baked goods.” Since Mort’s mother and sister were also accomplished bakers the early initiative began with Mort’s sister teaching Pat to make Schnecken, traditional cinnamon sticky buns. From there Pat also began making other sweets popular among Jewish Baked goods including traditional sweets served at Passover. Since the apartment house where the Goodman’s lived did not permit the flow of customers coming into the building to purchase the baked goods, the Doorman, who was friendly with Pat obliged the pick-ups and money delivery, then would notify Pat about the “secret packages” with their running line of humor that developed between them, “The Package has been delivered.”
In short time, Pat’s business thrived so much that there was conversation to Pat opening her own little bakery. That was before one particular Passover when Pat, with a volume of filling so many orders, barely possible through the efforts of one person determined that perhaps the profitability ratio did not really exceed the enormous efforts required. “It was great therapy,” Mort, Pat’s husband, admiringly chimes in to his wife during the conversation, “You took great pride in what you did and you did it well .”When people want to buy your desserts and tell you how much they enjoy what you bake, appreciate the work you do, it really makes me happy, and it makes me feel good about myself.” Pat said.
Prior to the arrival of Pat’s third grandchild, Rose, Pat a woman filled with lots of enthusiasm and spirit always baked with her first two grandchildren, Haley and Josh. Although they would do a lot of baking together Pat’s granddaughter, Haley, additionally enjoyed venturing to cooking meals. Therefore, ‘kicking things up a notch’, as part of a holiday gift Pat gave Haley the Emeril Lagasse Children’s Cookbooks, There’s a Chef in My Soup! and There’s a Chef in My Family!Grandmother and granddaughter cooked many recipes out of those books together with Haley eagerly checking off each one as accomplished. “The time I spent baking and cooking with my Grandmother was a very special bonding experience we shared together that will always mean a lot to me.” Haley said. Today, Josh enthusiastically describes his memory of when Grammy would be arriving from Florida for the Jewish holidays, “The first thing Haley and me would do on the day Grammy was arriving was to go through the cookbooks and into all of the cabinets and decide what we wanted to make all together. We had a lot of fun times and baked a lot of things together” When asked, Josh responds that his very favorite baked item to make with Grammy is the macaroons. The same macaroons Grammy was making with her youngest granddaughter, Rose, preparing for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah celebration with family and friends. The traditional macaroon cookie matched well with the ‘New South’ theme while suiting those on gluten free diets.
Here are some of my favorites served at the Goodman’s 2012 ‘New South’ Themed Rosh Hashanah Party
Yes, Fried Green Tomatoes with cornmeal and panko bread crumbs, Mort fried these delicious appetizers served with a citrus aioli as guests delightedly filled the home and sharing their innovative contributions prepared within the ‘New South’ Theme.
There was a baby lima salad with diced roasted red peppers, onions and fresh dill served in little puff pastry cups all filled by Rose prior to the party.
The Goodman’s sure do know how to throw a spectacular Party with lots of great food! Stay tuned for Hanukkah 2012, I have far in advance reserved my spot for the Goodman’s Latke Party held after Thanksgiving to share Pat’s recipe while making dozens of the best potato latkes around, all made from scratch. For now, hope you enjoy Granny Rose’s Apple Cake!
- 5-6 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon, mixed together to make a cinnamon sugar and tossed with apples
- 1/4 pound butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 2 Tablespoons (approximately) pieces of cut up butter to dot on top of batter, then sprinkle with about 2 more Tablespoons sugar and another teaspoon of cinnamon
- Grease an 8x8 square baking dish
- Prepare apples and the sugar cinnamon mixture. Toss all together. Distribute the apple mixture evenly around the baking dish. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar. When the butter and sugar mixture begin to get fluffy add in the eggs, one at a time continue beating. Add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time letting the flour incorporate into the mixture before adding the last half. Pour the batter over the apple mixture and smooth evenly across the pan. Dot pieces of butter all around on top of the batter. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon all over. Bake in a pre-heated 350 -degree oven for 35-40 minutes until inserted toothpick removes clean.
- Let cool. Cut into squares and serve.