Yom Kippur, a.k.a. the Day of Jewish Atonement, is upon us. For some, that means no food or water for 25 hours straight (no, that's not a typo). And while that may seem like a long time, just remember that for every fast, there's a break fast. When it's time to eat, don't be so blinded by your hunger that you reach for the first thing in your fridge. Refueling typically consists of bagels, lox, and various cream cheese spreads, which collectively pack enough protein without overwhelming your digestive system. That's why we asked Josh Russ Tupper, fourth-generation co-owner of Russ & Daughters, a family-run shop of smoked fish and appetizing foods on N.Y.C.'s Lower East Side, which foods to indulge in at sundown.
What's the ideal break fast meal?
Something you don't have to cook. If you're fasting for a stretch of time, you don't want to slave over a stove, smell all the smells, and potentially get sick. I'd recommend a buffet of white fish fillet, herring, salmon, sable, sturgeon, white fish salad, a couple of different types of cream cheese, salmon or wasabi roe, bagels, babka, rugelach, and maybe some noodle kugel—if you have the patience to heat it up. That way, you can lay it all out on a table and dig in when the time comes.
That sounds like a lot. How much should each person eat?
A moderate amount. Generally, we say six to eight people per pound of salmon, plus 1/2 lb of sable or sturgeon. Then, bagels and dessert.
Why are bagels and smoked fish the best foods to break fast with?
After you fast for a day, you don't want to eat something very heavy. Appetizing food is not only light—it's easily prepared, so it requires little to no effort to assemble.
Is it wise to eat at a slower pace?
I wouldn't say so. As far as I'm concerned, if someone fasts, they're entitled to eat as quickly as they want to.
How many orders does Russ & Daughters get in advance of Yom Kippur?
Five to six hundred, easily. It's our busiest time of year.
Russ & Daughters, 179 E. Houston Street, New York, NY, 10002. 212-475-4880.