Passover 2011

Soo..I’m Jewish.

For some reason, I haven’t quite mentioned this on the blog yet.

Though it’s really no secret to those who know me in real life.

But Monday at sundown marked the beginning of a very special Jewish holiday – one that will impact me and my blog for 8 days. Passover!

Passover is the celebration of the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. It’s the story of Moses, 10 plagues and a parting of a Red Sea.

You know, the time of the year where ABC plays “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston

For an AWESOME digital retelling of the story, see this video:

As I mentioned, the reason I’m especially excited to talk about Passover is because the next 8 days will mean a diet change for me.

During passover you’re not allowed to eat chametz. Chametz includes anything made from the five major grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt) or food that was commonly used to make bread, like rice, corn, peanuts, and legumes. Additionally, any pots and pans that comes in contact with chametz during the year must be put away!

This means NO to: bread, rice, pasta, many packaged candies, chocolates or sweets, some yogurts, lentils, corn, oatmeal, black beans, peanut butter, most alcohol, corn starch, white/wheat flour,

They say we do this because when Jews were leaving Egypt, there wasn’t enough time for their bread to rise so we honor the tradition by eating unlevened bread aka MATZAH. (Source)

Needless to say, it has been craziness in the house cleaning and preparing.

Our fridge – which was bare and cleaned out – is now filled with food that is Kosher for Passover and looks like it exploded:

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Part of the explosion is because Passover is initiated with 2 nights of a symbolic, traditional meal called a Seder. This is a 12-step process that uses a book called the Haggaddah to tell the Jew’s journey from slavery to freedom via biblical excerpts, 4 cups of wine, symbolic food, singing and a “festive meal.”

The Seder is my absolute favorite tradition – probably because it is most comparable to Thanksgiving! It means family, good food, feelings of gratefulness, and lots of laughing.

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The first night’s Seder on Monday evening, was spent at my father’s house with my dad, step-mom and little sister.

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Here you’ll see my cute little sister, our cups of wine, the Haggaddah and our Seder plate, a showcase for all the representative foods.

The symbolic food I keep referring in our meal and Seder includes:

  • A green vegetable to represent spring
  • A bitter herb to represent tough times
  • Charoset, a sweet mix of apples, raisins, wine, cinnamon and walnuts, to represent the mortar and bricks
  • Matzah to represent the unleavened bread

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Two years ago when I was studying abroad, I visited Italy during Passover and knew I had to have a Seder. For the first time, I made my very own Seder for a bunch of friends in Rome and improvised the Seder Plate by using shot glasses.  Quite innovative, right?

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Monday’s feast was delicious and traditional – meatloaf, beef and potatoes, chicken, asparagus, broccoli, 2 soups and baked apples.

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For dessert, we busted out my father’s favorite: Rainbow cookies!

Tuesday’s Seder was at my mom and step-dad’s house and also included my 3 step-siblings, step-grandma, and step-aunt. It was a full house and that meant a wholeeee lot of food.

There was quinoa, turkey, spicy brisket, chicken matzah ball soup, salad, baked cauliflower, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, potato kugel and knishes, and a ton of yummy desserts.

Leftovers much?

The Seders go lateee and needless to say, I’m quite exhausted today.

The good news is my lunches and dinners for the next few days will be amazing leftovers!  Afterward, get ready to see some pictures of matzah pizza! Bring it on, Passover.

What would you do without bread for 8 days?

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