Happy New Year to all my Jewish readers. I hope you have a good and sweet year, to translate for those who cannot understand my transliteration. I think the Jews got it right making the New Year in the Fall because it’s a good time to: a) review the past year and consider our intentions for the following year; and b) to buy new clothes and office supplies. I love office supplies.
Although I’m not a synagogue goer, the holiday still holds special meaning to me. Often J. and I vacation around this time so we miss out on celebrating with friends but this year, because we’ve cut our vacation short–yes, J. won that one–we are in town. Unfortunately, our local Jews had all made other plans by the time we confirmed our last-minute vacation dates.
But rather than sitting home eating apples and honey on our own, we were saved by some neighbours we’ve gotten to know through our shared love of Bassets. We have only one to their three, but they are still willing to associate with us. Drs. Hound and their hounds invited us over for the first evening of Rosh HaShanah. Anyone who would not only invite us into their home but encourage us to bring our ill-behaved dog and feed us? We’d have been fools to decline. They assured us Jelly could do no more harm than their own dogs had already done. We went to prove them wrong.
First off, it’s worth noting that Jelly may be three years older than their two mischievous two-year-old boys, but Jelly entertained the young’uns all night. She quickly figured out that this home is set up like our own, with a circuit around rooms on the main floor, so she decided to take everyone on an indoor off-leash romp. And then she did it again. And then she did it again. Eventually we lost count.
While the dogs were playing, our hosts prepared quite the feast. Today’s piece of unsolicited advice: If ever two Ph.D. neuroscientists invite you over for dinner, accept without hesitation. What is cooking but science, after all? We had a 4-star Michelin meal (okay, okay, Michelin only gives up to 3 stars, but it was that good). We tasted our first sous-vide salmon, creatively made using equipment reclaimed from their lab’s discard pile, and carrot-top pesto from carrots they’d grown, among other delicacies.
My dessert, although the best apple-ginger galette I’ve ever made, felt a bit underwhelming after that 4-star performance. Considering the meal, I should have rolled my own puff pastry rather than relying on the President. (That was a truly Canadian inside joke.) After all the effort the Drs. Hound had gone to, I felt a bit embarrassed. Still, they perked up when I offered to leave leftovers behind, which suggests it was passable.
This wasn’t our most traditional Rosh Hashanah dinner, but it was a lovely evening with new friends who welcomed us into their beautiful home and bestowed wonderful food upon us. And even Jelly, amidst her counter surfing, had a blast with her Basset buddies. What are holidays for if not celebrating for with friends?