Meals on the eve of Yom Kippur are meant to fortify Jewish families for a day of fasting and praying. In the Berrie house, the meal is marked with what Scott Berrie calls “yellow chicken,” a Moroccan family recipe for chicken in a lemon sauce, served with zucchini and egg noodles.
“He’s madly in love with that dish,” explains his mother Kathy. “It’s not that complex [or] hard,” Scott explains. “But it takes a lot of patience and very subtle skill to make it just right.” Add the lemon and eggs, which enrich the sauce, to the chicken too early and the mixture will curdle, but add it at just the right moment and it will create a velvety yellow sauce. “What I love the most is the color,” Scott adds.
It’s a recipe Kathy and her mother Fiby brought with them from Morocco to North America, when they moved more than 50 years ago. Growing up in New Jersey, Scott remembers his mother preparing the dish before the fast every year. He would watch from the sidelines. “She had her way in the kitchen, so I didn’t want to interfere,” he explains.
Now a parent himself, he’s tried to recreate his mother’s recipe at home. He’s never quite replicated his mother’s version, but he’s gotten closer and closer over the years.