R0sh Hashanah, the anniversary of the creation of man, is a time imbued with utmost significance, as we hope and pray for an upcoming year of good tidings, Divine mercy, success in all we do, and the well-being of all mankind. Of the many ancient customs that are employed to evoke favorable Divine blessings in the coming year, the practice of eating simanim, symbolic foods representing auspiciousness, is one of the highlights of the festive holiday meal. These foods act as a reminder that all of our activities, even eating, are full of meaning and significance. The import of eating foods such as gourds, dates, fish, pomegranate, etc., lie in their relation to biblical references, the nature of the food (such as fish being a fruitful species), and wordplay (like the Yiddish for the word 'carrot' and 'increase' being the same word). Among some of the most commonly eaten simanim are pomegranates, black-eyed-peas, leeks, and carrots. Bringing these simanim together in this awesome pizza is a fun way of heralding in the new year, symbolizing our hopes and prayers that our blessings in the coming year should all come together like the ingredients and toppings of a pizza pie. Enjoy, y'all.
The Symbolism of the Pizza Ingredients
Carrots: "mehren," in Yiddish, can also mean to "increase." Eaten with a prayer that our merits should increase.
Beets: "silka," related to the Hebrew word 'siluk,' meaning "removal." Eaten with a prayer that our enemies/adversaries be removed from upon us.
Pomegranate: This wonderful antioxidant-rich fruit is packed with many fruitful seeds. Eaten to symbolize that we pray for our merits to be as numerous as the seeds of a pomegranate.
Leeks: "karsi," related to the Hebrew word "kares," meaning to "cut off/destroy." Eaten with a prayer that our enemies should be destroyed.
Black-Eyed-Peas: "rubia," related to the Hebrew word "yirbu/rov," meaning to "increase/ a lot." Eaten with prayer that our merits should increase/ be plentiful. It is also of note that in the southern United States, black-eyed-peas are viewed as a food symbolic of increasing livelihood, with the peas symbolizing coin currency.
Pomegranate-Infused Tomato Sauce
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Saute leek discs in a large pan/skillet 2-3 minutes on each side, or until tender and lightly-browned. Set aside.
Add shredded carrots to pan/skillet, and saute for 4-6 minutes, or until lightly-browned. Set aside.
Place sliced beets and black-eyed-peas on a baking pan/cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 5-8 minutes, or until beets are slightly burnt on the edges and resemble pepperoni.
Lower oven temperature to 425°F.
Spread the pizza sauce on top of the pizza crusts. Arrange the beets, black-eyed-peas, pastrami/faux bacon, and leeks, and sprinkle with the carrots to resemble cheese. Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until outer crust shows slight browning. Remove from oven and brush outer-crust with extra-virgin olive oil. Enjoy.