Being a Jew is a complicated thing. Even eating right is not easy. Such a simple thing as eating has been elected into higher levels, into morality.
Fastivals - Sabbath
Like in every tradition or religion the special days are marked with special attention in other words festivals. Jews have many festivals both religious and secular. Among them the most important one is quite frequent. It is the Sabbath.
When God created the world He did so for six days and took a day off on the seventh. For some reason He found this so important that this commandment became one of the firsts for human mankind (later repeated as the 4th Commandment). In fact this is not only for Jews, it is for humanity. This is the focal point of the Jewish week that starts from Friday evening till Saturday sunset. All activities considered work is prohibited, which includes cooking. In other words some preparations in advance is needed.
Thus, once a week every Jewish family becomes a temple, kitchens transformed to sanctuary and tables to altars. Let us see what is usually served on the tables!
It is usual to have three special meals. One for the Friday night (accepting the Sabbath), Saturday lunch and the Saturday night meal. Since we have programmed ovens it is easier, but back in old days these meals used to be cold food as cooking and heating was not allowed.
The usual traditional (rather Ashkenazi) menu looks like this. Friday night we have hallah (special bread), herring, freshwater fish, goose (roasted), noodle. For Saturday lunch it is usual to have potato, cholent, pudding, sponge cake, compote. When Sabbath leaves we have modest (humble) meal. It may include chopped liver, bagel, chopped eggs, potato salad.