Bar Mitzvah Menu for 35

I’ve more or less finalized the menu. While I would like to follow a commenter’s suggestion and keep it light, the number of teenage boys and the necessity to prepare in advance, along with tradition, means that it probably won’t be. I’ll have fresh salads and vegetables at every meal and leave it to people to make their own choices.

Friday night:

  • Whole wheat challah bread.
  • Tehina salad.
  • Appetizer: Gefilte fish (cooked fish balls) with horseradish.
  • Roast chicken with lemon, garlic and oregano.
  • Tossed salad.
  • Potatoes with olive oil and parsley.
  • String beans.
  • Another side dish to be prepared by my sister-in-law.
  • Dessert: Fruit and frozen chocolate mousse.

Kiddush (mini-meal served after synagogue services): As I’m buying everything I haven’t decided yet, but most likely salted fish, crackers, cake, watermelon, and noodle and potato kugel (pudding).

Saturday Lunch:

  • Challah
  • Tehina.
  • No appetizer. It’s not as if anyone will be starving after kiddush, and I’m not a caterer who has to impress customers with a beautiful  presentation. The idea of an appetizer for a formal meal is so ingrained that I never thought of skipping it until my friend Miriam made the suggestion.
  • Cholent, a hot sabbath stew made with barley, meat, potatoes, and onions.
  • Two salads to be determined, made by my sisters-in-law.
  • Some alternative side dish, either rice, tabouli, hot bulgur, or quinoa.
  • Meatloaf.
  • Dessert: Leftover cake from the kiddush.

Third meal, served around 6:30 PM:

  • Challah
  • Leftover fish and salads.
  • Quiche in a loaf, from Marcy Goldman’s Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.

I made the challah yesterday, with the kids’ help.


  1. rhonda schiferle says

    mmm..sounds delicious..what are the recipes for your meatloaf , quiche and cholent? and cake?

    • Meatloaf–Um, you’ll have to wait for exact proportions as I haven’t made it in a while. It will be ground turkey, eggs, flour or breadcrumbs, herbs and other seasonings. I updated the post with a link to the recipe for the quiche:
      My neighbor the caterer offered to come over and make the cholent. I forgot to mention beans, those are the things she told me to buy, and seasoned just with paprika. Spices don’t keep their flavor overnight anyway.

  2. Wow, that’s a lot of food. And I do notice that you enjoy tempting us with recipes and menus when we are not supposed to eat.. 🙂

  3. Miriam’s approach is interesting.

    First of all: what do you usually prepare (or should I say ‘prepared’?) for appetizer in Shabbat?

    I find it’s much better to eat lunch after kiddush. You will eat food prepared for Kavod (Honoring) Shabbat with Oneg (Joy of ) Shabbat because you won’t be full and then you probably won’t have so much leftovers! I also think one person in Shabbat should eat the 3 meals with appetite. As far as I know appetizer is not one of those and you might end up lose the appetite with ‘minor’ foods/junk food as chips, cookies, crackers, dried fruits, ice cream, soda… and even Baileys – did you know some people use it for kiddush? 🙂

    What does Miriam, and Hanna, think about appetizers exactly?

    Thank you!

    • Betzalel, I agree with you. But we don’t plan to serve a full lunch to 200 people. I am making many compromises for this bar mitzvah.
      I usually serve melon or grapefruit as an appetizer for lunch, depending on the season. Miriam figures that since her kids sit at the table for a limited amount of time anyway, so it may as well be for the main course.

  4. Mazal tov – good for you!

    What do you mean by “spices don’t keep their flavor overnight anyway”

  5. Ariela, I mean that most of the flavor of the ground spices will have dissipated by morning, if the stew is left to cook overnight.