Yesterday, we spent the day cooking, chopping, cleaning, preparing, all winding up to our Passover Seder held last night at our cozy little round table at 2/61 Neville Street. Early in the morning I made Apricot-Pistachio Charoset and put the pumpkin and potatoes in the oven to roast. After speaking with my family half-a-world away and sharing in the festivities through the joyful sounds of feasting, Talya returned home for the major chopfest of 2010. As our blender unfortunately decided to go out of commission, we chopped walnuts and chocolate for the flourless chocolate cake. (All I can say now is, boy, do I love appliances. And, never, ever, try to beat egg whites with a fork – an endless tiring process). After more cooking and kugel-ing and kneidel-ing, Sam and Jen arrived with chicken and soup, wine and flowers and we were set for our seder.
I have to say that I have never enjoyed a seder so much. Our Haggadah had informative little sidebars that clued us into why we say, do and eat certain things. (A fun fact was definitely an Iranian tradition during the singing of Dayenu in which participants “whip” each other with scallions to recall enslavement). The salt water remembers the tears our ancestors shed in the land of Egypt… the eggs we eat symbolize fertility and renewal… the charoset is eaten with the bitter herb to symbolize the bitterness of slavery being sweetened by faith. And a last quote, an old Jewish saying which I found quite striking: “Pray as if everything depended on God, and act as if everything depended on you.”
We shared laughs and enjoyed the food immensely. The matzah balls, amidst a deliciously subtle broth, almost made me cry they were so fluffy and reminded me of my Bubby’s creations. The charoset was a hit. The chicken was so moist and flavourful. The kugel was a success, thanks to a recipe from Auntie Faige and Uncle Mike. The kasha was out of this world. And the flourless chocolate (aka delicious enslavement) cake was perfectly balanced by vanilla ice cream.
A wonderful celebration, delicious, joyful, instructive and worth all the chopping and the effort of cooking. L’chaim!