Thursday, 1 April 2010

Leftovers From the Seders

Another year of sederim has passed over (sorry for the atrocious pun!) and we can finally put the planning, recipe sourcing, haggadot searching, and family dynamics out of our minds until next spring. I must say that I was quite pleased with how both seders functioned. We had the gansa mishpacha (and then some!) gather together on the first night-all 43 of us!! Our second night was a smaller, but no less raucous group of family and close friends. As I sit here decompressing and attempting to rid my house of the lingering egg and fish odours, I thought that I might share a few random leftovers that came out of this seasons celebrations.

  • Kosher for Passover chocolate? Really? Now what is up with that? I suppose that for those of you strict adherents to the nareshkeit that is kitniyot, there is this thing about added corn syrup, but if one looks at the ingredients of really good and well-made chocolate, it consists of nothing more than pure and natural ingredients. Do a little research people and stop buying that shit that tastes like grainy cardboard mixed with paste. Chocolate is not on the banned substances list. Let's allow this holiday the taste of decent cocoa.
  • I think that we need a moratorium on certain conversations at the seder table. Twin Son's Oldest is a very enthusiastic and excited paramedic-in-waiting, and was chomping at the bit to regale us with anecdotes about sucking chest wounds and bleeders that could not be contained. Unless a hemangioma pericytoma was one of the 10 plagues, I really don't need a working definition of it until after the food has cleared the table.
  • There is never enough red wine at our seder table, so my suggestion to those providing the nectar of the gods for the celebration is to simply refrain from purchasing the chardonnay. White wine simply does not have that pesach cache. It certainly didn't help that on the second evening, the six young people at the table downed 4 bottles of Merlot and Cabernet before we even poured for the third cup. Apparently they took that "full-cup" directive very seriously. And while I am on the subject, there is Kosher for Passover wine that doesn't taste like animal piss. South American wines from both Chile and Argentina do pass the taste test. The LCBO here in Ontario had a wonderful selection this year, so please stop telling me that all kosher wine is only for the slothing peon.
  • Vegetarian eating and pesach eating aren't mutually exclusive after all. Thank you to all who provided me with wonderful recipes that went over big at both the seders and for the aftermath. I was particularly enamoured with the carrot-cashew loaf that a friend sent, (Oh my God-it is ambrosia!!) and a roasted beet casserole that I have decided will become a seder staple if I can procure enough pairs of rubber gloves necessary to prepare the dish to avoid the blood red-stained hands. (I could have painted many of your doorposts with my fingertips!) I also learned a great deal about vegetarian cooking this season and how the addition of matzah meal makes everything take on the density of a medicine ball. I made lovely sweet and sour veggie meatballs for the first night, but the necessary addition of matzah meal instead of panko gave them the texture of Titleist number 1s. If it does that to the food, just imagine what it is doing to your digestive tract.
  • We had an interesting phenomenon occur at both of our seders this year. There were no children under B'nai Mitzvah age either evening. This strange occurrence was a first for me. It resulted in a re-thinking of some of the "kidification" of the seder and the removal of some of the more juvenile components. Dr. Seuss readings went the way of the dodo, and the plague bags and finger puppets went into storage. They were replaced with discussions of social justice, food initiatives, the injustice of scotch prohibitions, and of course, kitniyot. The Cousin/Sister has been relentless (as in-making my ears bleed!!) in her nagging about my re-involvement in a restructuring of the haggadah, and I did add and subtract a few things here and there. It resulted in a much more adult experience, but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun. I do believe (and this is strictly my opinion, so don't feel the need to re-do your own sederim if you are not so inclined) that one of the primary functions of the holiday is to challenge our children and to increase our own knowledge from year to year. It cannot remain static and based solely in tradition. It must organically evolve, as we all do annually. If your children have moved into young adulthood, the cute little gimmicks should be shelved and new ideas need to be fostered. Don't despair. The kids will return to the table one day, and so will the colouring books and frog toys.
There is probably much more to discuss, but I open it up to all of you. Please feel free to share your Passover experiences in the comment sections of this blog. Any and all are welcome. I would love to hear what others out there are experiencing and feeling.

Hope you enjoy the new look of the blog. It is still a work in progress and I hope that more changes will be coming in the next few weeks and months.

Chag Sameach to all who observe and to all who will be celebrating Easter this weekend-Happy Holidays.


  1. Just wanted to comment about "kosher wine" - did you know that what makes it Kosher is that no non-Jew has ever touched it? To me, that's a good reason never to buy kosher wine.

  2. Ellen,
    I am with you! No need to convince me at all.