It is custom for the Jewish New Year to have a fish head at the table so that the nation and you may be at the lead for the following year not the tail-end of things.
As a vegetarian I had two thoughts on how to fulfill this: cutting off the heads of gummy fish and having a bowl of them at the table or getting our niece and nephew to draw fish heads – these were them and they made a lovely addition to our table.
Other traditional food items at our table: slices of apple with honey for a sweet year (and two apples cakes), pomegranate seeds for prosperity and numerous good deeds (and pomegranate ice cream), round honey challah symbolizing the yearly cycle (other challah shapes and symbols from last year).
We wanted to do pumpkin pancakes for the Sephardic custom of eating pumpkins because the Hebrew word for gourd is similar sounding to the word call out and you want your good deeds to be called out. There was no pumpkin to be found so we made butternut squash pancakes instead – they came out quite nice.
Spinach and other greens in the salad symbolize a green year (spinach or beets are also connected to the Hebrew word for to remove so it can symbolize having your enemies removed – or anything that holds you back.)
Additional foods on the menu: sweet potato and red pepper kugel, broccoli and spinach quiche, round pizza (for fussy eaters), linguine with garlic lemon and thyme, moonblush tomato and goat cheese salad (includes spinach and rocket salad).
No dates or carrots (though apparently squash can qualify for carrots), but a bountiful meal as a harbinger for a wonderful year.
Wishing you and your loved ones a great Rosh Hashanah and I can’t say it better than Neil Gaiman, “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”