Noodle Kugel for the Holidays

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.


The fall Jewish holidays are so very bittersweet for me.   I have the most vivid memories of Mom slaving away in the kitchen for weeks leading up to the Jewish New Year.  She’d willingly make multiple versions of her Noodle Kugel (Noodle Pudding), her infamous Sweet and Sour Brisket, chopped liver, Matzoh Ball Soup and of course, her Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf. Lucky for her, she was able to use her extra freezer for all of the overflow dishes.  Growing up, the holidays in my household marked a time of togetherness, celebration, reflection and memorable meals around the table.

I’ve been trying very hard this past year to reclaim dinnertime as a coveted meal hour for my family to discuss the days’ events, to share ideas, and of course, to experiment with new food. Living within blocks of Zabar’s and Citarella makes it very tempting (and undeniably easy) to just pick up the phone or take a walk and order dishes off their pre-planned menus.  While certainly expensive, at least you’re guaranteed the food will taste great without all the hassle of cooking, right?

These fews weeks with major Jewish holidays and meals, Mom’s absence is more searing than ever. For me, cooking her dishes from her stained, handwritten recipes is just one way I can celebrate her life and the abundant love she constantly gave to me.   I want my children to walk through the door, smell the holiday food cooking, open the refrigerator and see all of the dishes I’ve prepared for the meaningful meal.  I don’t want them to answer the doorbell for a delivery guy bearing boxes of ready-to-heat meals. I want them to sit around our dinner table and rejoice in family and food and recognize its importance.

I would give anything to have  the chance to learn from Mom directly.  I’d take notes first-hand, learning her shortcuts and relishing in her useful tips.  So much of my cooking expeditions right now are mere guessing games.  However, each new dish cooked, each new thumbs up from my kids, bolsters my confidence and challenges me to continue this journey.

I’ve already made both kugel versions for next week’s meal because I know you can’t have enough kugel on the table.  Today, I was smiling as I baked,  sensing a feeling of accomplishment and pride. I know my family will share these home-cooked faves while spending quality time together around the table.  These feelings of supreme satisfaction and ultimate pleasure Mom felt all the time.

Even though I find myself constantly looking for Mom’s place setting at our dinner table, I know I’m allowing her spirit to live on in all of us.

With every new pot of water boiled, egg cracked, measuring cup used, I feel one-step-closer-to-Mom.



Any holiday favorites of Mom’s you want to share?


  1. Shari, the second recipe is almost exactly like Eileen’s mother’s. We may have to have a kugel-off!

  2. My late husband’s ex-mother-in-law was Jewish, and would make Kugel, yummy. I know what you mean about learning from your mom first hand, I am blessed to have been help my mom prepare the family recipe for stuffing, and carry that on. I am the only girl, and the only one who knows how to make it. My daughter lives in another state, but visits for Thanksgiving, after reading your post I will be more aggressive about her helping prepare the secret recipe for family stuffing.

  3. Marilyn Milstein says:

    I saw you had a Passover Apple Matza Kugle but there was no recipe. Can you provide one? We are having @ 20 people each night. Thanks

    • Marilyn Milstein » here you go
      ; Matzoh Apple Kugel

      (merged Mom’s recipe with


      4 regular-flavored sheets of matzoh
      3 eggs, beaten well
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1/2 cup sugar
      1/4 cup vegetable oil
      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon all spice
      2 apples peeled, cored and cubed
      1/2 cup raisins


      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
      Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish. Break the matzoh sheets into many pieces and soak in a bowl of water until soft. Drain in a colander, mashing to squeeze the water out.
      In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, salt, sugar, oil and cinnamon and all spice. Add the soaked matzo and mix well.
      Fold in the apples and raisins. Spoon into the prepared baking dish, and spread evenly.
      Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until nicely browned and apples are tender.
      Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top and let cool before cutting.

      I baked my dish for approximately 49 minutes as the apples took a while to soften. Rome apples would bake in a shorted amount of time.
      Feel free to add in 1 teaspoon of honey (Mom’s recipe included this ingredient).
      Make sure not to over bake or the kugel WILL taste like baked cardboard.

  4. yay. that sounds fabulous too. I will make note of it! xx Happy Holidays


  1. […] While Kugel has been a staple of Jewish cooking for centuries, this is only my very first year experimenting with Mom’s kugel recipes (definitely check out  Mom’s Noodle Pudding). […]

  2. […] it was easy to round out the holiday meal with other signature Jewish sides.  If you tried Mom’s Kugel Recipe from last week, you know that you can use this tasty noodle dish as a side to any main […]

  3. […] it’s easy to round out a holiday meal with other signature Jewish sides.  If you tried Mom’s Kugel Recipe, you know that you can use this tasty noodle dish as a side to any main […]

  4. […] While Kugel has been a staple of Jewish cooking for centuries, this is only my very second year baking Mom’s kugel recipe (definitely check out  Mom’s Noodle Pudding). […]

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