Rosh Hashanah is a time for families to get together, do a little praying and some serious eating. But the thought of making brisket, chicken, soup and a host of other dishes can be overwhelming. That's where Max & Benny's comes in.
The North Shore deli and bakery is in the midst of preparing dozens of take-out holiday feasts, many of which will be delivered right to the customer's door.
It is a kitchen divided this time of year at the venerable Max & Benny's Restaurant and Bakery in Northbrook. While cooks have to serve meals to daily customers, another group is working on preparing meals for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
"I respect people who want to cook at home. I think that's the best way, just like my baubie did it, but we're here as their baubie, and we want to make it an easy experience for them and a delicious meal," said Lester Schlan, Max & Benny's.
So if "baubie" - or grandmother - is not up to cooking, the restaurant sells catered meals which can be delivered. All of the usual suspects are here: chicken, potatoes, matzo ball soup and noodle kugel.. and then over on the other side of the table, platters for Yom Kippur, overloaded with bagels, lox, challah and sweet desserts, such as mandel bread and rugelach. Schlan stresses everything is made on-site.
"Some people want our homemade gefilte fish, a lot of places just take the can and doctor it; we make everything here is homemade, including our bakery, including our challahs."
And they make deliveries during Rosh Hashana.. to loyal customers like Gloria Stevens, who orders her holiday meal from the store every year.
"When I have people in from out of town and sometimes I have neighbors - whoever I have - I hate to cook anyway, it doesn't make a difference. This way, everything is taken care of," said Gloria Stevens, Max & Benny's Customer.
Soup is easily heated up and plated; brisket is sliced, chicken is baked.. and new this year, a savory kugel with mushrooms and onions, in addition to the usual sweeter version with raisins. Stevens says having a home-cooked meal prepared in someone else's kitchen reduces her stress level, and still maintains culinary traditions.
"It's brisket, it's chicken, it's soup, it's everything the kids love and everything that I was brought up on."
Max & Benny's
461 Waukegan Rd., Northbrook
Rosh Hashana ordering deadline: Sept. 25
Yom Kippur ordering deadline: Oct. 5
Two Tarts Cooking Class
Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies
610 S. Michigan Ave.
Thursday, September 18, 6 - 8 p.m.
Laura Frankel (Spertus) & Ina Pinkney (Ina's)
$36 per person