If you boil down the concept of breaking the Yom Kippur fast to its culinary essence, two basic rules become clear -- make it easy to prepare and make it easy on the stomach.
That's because one of the major aspects of this holy day of atonement, which comes at the end of the Jewish new year celebration, is a 25-hour fast. The day is spent in prayer and contemplation. And when it's finally time to eat, nobody wants to be rushing into the kitchen to make a complicated meal (or sitting and waiting for it when you're starving).
Plus, after an extended period of not eating, you want to ease the stomach back into satiety with a light meal.
Many families treat this meal, literally, as a breakfast and eat the kind of foods you might find at a Sunday brunch. So it's no surprise that all kinds of gentle dairy dishes, like eggy noodle or potato kugels and cheese blintzes, are served. Many of the convenient deli favorites such as smoked fishes and bagels with cream cheese show up, as well.
For Noah and Rae Bernamoff, owners of The Mile End Jewish-style delicatessen in Brooklyn and authors of a new cookbook bearing the same name, memories of the deli play an important role in their respective Yom Kippurs as well.
They offer takeout platters of house-cured and smoked salmon along with a wide selection of handcrafted deli favorites, such as egg, chicken or whitefish salad.
If your stomach is up to it, you can serve a light and mild veal and turkey breakfast sausage patties, which also can be prepared ahead. Just be sure to substitute margarine for the butter in the topping of the twice-baked challah if you are serving the two dishes together and keeping kosher.