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A Sukkot Dinner Party

This past Friday, I decided to host a small dinner party to celebrate the first night of Sukkot. Though tradition calls to celebrate Sukkot by eating outside under the starts (and preferably in a Sukkah), as this past Friday surprised New York City with unprecedented levels of rain, I had to shift the dinner party indoors. Luckily, the Rain couldn't dampen our spirits as we brought the spirit of autumn right into my cozy apartment.

Designing the Menu:

For the menu, I wanted to incorporate all elements of autumn into the dishes. Having spent hours prepping a homemade challah, I also wanted to elevate the challah from symbolic bread, to focal point of the meal, and so I served a creamy split pea soup in which the challah could be dipped, and chicken in a sweet red sauce, in which guests could soak the challah for a savory taste. Of course, as we just entered the New Year, I also had out cups of honey for those looking for a dip of sweetness.

But here’s the best part - my wonderful friends, rain-soaked from commuting though the flooded NYC subway, but enthusiastic and determined to celebrate Sukkot, brought bountiful dishes to contribute to the party. We had an array of main courses and desserts that turned our little dinner into a grand feast, making it a truly communal and heartwarming experience.

Suggested Recipes for Sukkot:

Setting the Ambiance:

As I am one of the few New Yorkers with outdoor space, I was planning to host outdoors - in other years I've had the delight of setting up my own sukkah in my garden- but due to rain, I had to quickly shift gears and create a fall tableau inside.

Potted plants, boasting shades of red and orange, dotted my apartment, giving it that abundant garden feel. Blooms of all kinds adorned the table, thanks to strategically placed small vases, making the tablescape vibrant and lively.

Mini pumpkins and gourds were scattered around like little harvest treasures. A pitcher of spiced apple cider not only served as a delicious beverage, but also added a splash of autumn to the room. And the scent of apple orchards and the fall harvest wafted through the air, thanks to a delightful apple-scented candle.

For the place settings, I put out small gold pumpkins which held name cards for the guests, so that everyone could easily find their seat at the table. I also bought some dried flowers and arranged them in a napkin ring so that they were situated on top of the napkin, and further incorporated autumn foliage into the plate of each guest.

In the end, our indoor Sukkot celebration turned out to be a a cozy and memorable experience. Post dessert, coffee and tea, we left the table behind, and reclined into the sofa, indulging in conversation for a few more hours.

It just goes to show, even torrential rainstorms couldn't dampen the warmth and joy of autumn when shared with good friends. Here's to cozy dinners, great company, and embracing the beauty of the season, no matter what the weather throws our way!

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