Why is it that the holidays always fall on the same weekend? I make both Passover and Easter and believe me the resulting chaos of swiftly switching from charoset to ham can be daunting.
Friday is the first seder. This is a meal with specific requirements and traditions. No winging it here. Brisket and kugel and of course the seder plate itself. If you veer from this you are only asking for trouble. When my grandmother finally passed the proverbial Passover torch to my mother; my mother passed a particular part of that torch to me. That being the roasted egg. Seems simple enough right? Who knew that roasting an egg would be tricky? I think my mother did and that is why she gave me the job. You cannot just put the egg in the oven and wait for it to turn that brown roasted color. No, it doesn’t work like that. I sat and thought a minute – how do you roast something? I tried putting the egg in a little water and then putting it in the oven. Sort of…but not quite. After several eggs I realized that you have to boil the egg first and then roast it in the oven. There is no manual for this stuff and I had no one to ask. And I have to admit I was a little embarrassed to be asking something that initially seemed so easy. Now, many years later, the entire Passover job is mine. I make the meal from soup to nuts. and that is literal on this holiday. This Friday I will be sending home ALL my leftovers because I have to make the quick change to ham. Yes, I am making Easter dinner as well. One day of respite and then egg hunts and rice balls. The roasted egg becomes the Easter egg! I will send those leftovers home too. After the cooking marathon I know I will not want to look at any of this food a day later.
I did think about making one big main dish to serve for both holidays – like a giant leg of lamb but somehow this didn’t seem right. It seemed like I was cheating. While I can be rebellious about many things in life when it comes to holidays I am pretty much a traditionalist.
The only thing that will get me through this weekend is wine. Oh one good thing about Passover – you are required to drink four glasses of the stuff. I love being a Jew on Passover! It used to be Manischewitz back in my grandmother’s day. Then when my dad was alive I could divert from Manischewitz but I still had to buy kosher wine. I remember the look of sympathy from my local wine shopkeeper when buying it. At that time those wines were what they call meshuval and they were my only choice. Boiling the wine was part of the process that rendered them kosher. Ugh! Now when the seder is mine to make I buy regular wine. This Friday we will be drinking Pinot Noir and Sunday when we celebrate Easter we will be enjoying Riesling.
Granddogs. Grandchildren. A house full of family and friends. I love it all.
Starting Thursday I will crack open a bottle of my favorite sipper and start cooking! Let the holidays begin!