I was a slave (to the kitchen) and now I am free. Lots of work, preparing for Passover, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Researching vegetarian and carnivorous recipes. Finalizing the menu. Shopping for items not usually on my list: matzoh meal, a six pound brisket, gefilte fish and horseradish, potatoes, carrots, and onions in obscene quantities. Loved it. Cooking up serious kitchen chaos for days. Singing and dancing all the while. Pulling out “the good dishes” and silverware, and setting a proper Seder table, with all the traditional accoutrements.
Lots of bending and cleaning, buoyed by eager anticipation. For me, Passover is not happening without great aromas filling the house and a crowd around the table. And so it was last night, with some invited guests unfortunately unable to make it and some unexpected guests dropping in with impromptu holiday blessings.
We read aloud the story of Passover that commemorates our ancestors’ departure from bondage under the Pharoah and their acceptance of the Ten Commandments and the Torah in the desert, at Mt. Sinai, and finally their arrival in the land God had promised Abraham, the land we call Israel today. We explained the items on the ceremonial Seder plate. We drank the required four glasses of wine (and, some, maybe a bit more.) And we supped and talked and bantered and laughed late into the evening. The house was warm and glowing; so was I.
On Passover we are encouraged to “lean back and be comfortable” so we will remember the blessing of freedom that brought us to the holiday meal. I felt quite blessed, comfortable and relaxed, but didn’t have much time for leaning back or taking pictures (though I had set my camera on a close-by corner table.) So I’ll rely on the memories I collected last night and share with you instead, the photos of leftovers in our refrigerator, which were leftover even after we packed up “doggie bags” for our friends to take home.
During the Seder we uncover the matzoh and say, “This is the bread that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let anyone who is hungry come in and eat; let anyone who is needy come in and join us for Passover.” I’m placing links below to several of the recipes we dined on last night. No need for you to go hungry—you too can partake of the flavor of this (sort of) “Jewish Thanksgiving” holiday.