Get creative this Yom Kippur break fast with a bagel board complete with three types of flavored cream cheese!
Yom Kippur, aka the Day of Atonement, is probably most associated with fasting. It is a day to repent for our sins, reflect on those we have hurt, and ask for forgiveness.
What’s this fasting all about? It’s tradition to fast after you are bar or bat mitzvah age (13), unless you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or otherwise cannot limit food. In general, the practice is to abstain from food or drink (some even refrain from bathing, brushing their teeth and sex, totally up to you. I will be brushing my teeth) for 25 hours.
The point isn’t to put your physical or mental health at risk, but to ruminate on the past year. However, there are ways to not fast and still make the day meaningful. You could take a break from social media or tv instead, give up driving for the day and walk where you need to go. Donate food as a symbolic gesture, fast for part of the day, or limit from food but drink water. What’s most important is that you observe in a way that is meaningful to you.
Whether you fast or not, by the time sundown rolls around, it’s time to eat! Depending on your Jewish background, you probably break the fast with different foods. If you have Greek heritage, it may be avgolemono or spanakopita. Or a Moroccan chicken and a chilled cucumber soup in the Middle East. For us, it was always the traditional Ashkenazi spread of bagels with all the fixings, chopped liver, kugel, various salads, rugelach, coffee cake, the works. My go to order is perfection: I start with an everything bagel. Half with scallion cream cheese, lox, red onion, and cucumbers. Half with both tuna salad and egg salad.
Typically, you wouldn’t spend the fast day prepping food for the break fast while not eating, so it’s good to serve food that you can make ahead and easily put out when ready to nosh. And nothing too heavy after a day of not eating so as not to overdo it (though that is easier said than done). In place of having a typical tray of bagels, what about a bagel board this year? Boards are not just for cheese and charcuterie anymore! It’s a fashionable way to display your bagel toppings, instead of just laying out tubs of cream cheese (though I would absolutely still eat it served that way).
This year, I got crafty with the cream cheese flavors. Of course, you can still have the traditional plain or scallion, but it’s fun to switch it up with flavors. Inspired by my favorite bagel toppings, I went with Everything But the Bagel Cream Cheese, all your favorite accoutrement already in the cream cheese! Then, I went with a sweet and savory Caramelized Onion Cream Cheese, which is perfect on an everything bagel. And if you have a sweet tooth like me, try the Apples and Honey Cream Cheese, inspired by the classic Rosh Hashanah bite.
You can get creative with the other toppings too. Add your favorite vegetables, like radishes or sprouts, try other spreads like hummus and flavored butter. Or go sweet with peanut butter and fruit. The important thing is that you break the fast with friends and family and delicious food after a long day or reflection. And make sure to have lots of food! The fasters will be hungry.