Saturday, April 7, 2012

Passover Seders - New Beginnings & Old Traditions

Every year we celebrate Passover by observing a feasting ritual.  Unlike every other holiday where one gets together with loved ones to eat and drink and be merry... don't get me wrong, there's lots of that too... this evening starts with a ritual telling of  the story of slavery in Egypt and the freedom that follows.  The film The Ten Commandments tells it well.   But this post is about the things that stood out about last night's seder at my daughter Joanna and her husband Ezra.  The family has grown - they have two sons (more in a minute), Ezra's sister, Kayla has married Matthew and have a new baby.  In addition, Matt's parents and two siblings came up from Barbados to spend time with their latest granddaughter and were at the table along with some friends, making the total around the table 18.  
Some highlights for me... this year I actually got to cook with Joanna, since both daddy and Poppa were available for the playing part. My role of late is usually more about playing Gramma and allowing Jo the space and time to do the cooking.  I did get to make some things at home before arriving with a trunk full of bowls and ingredients for two salads - Fattoush with out the toasted pita, and my take on this Arugula, Mango Salad I found on Healthy Happy Life and will write up my own recipe sometime soon - with a photo (I used mixed spring greens, added strawberries, blackberries & blueberries and left out the macadamia nuts).  I brought my huge stock pot filled with 22 cups of chicken soup - Jo made the matzo balls.  And for dessert, I made some Passover brownies with chocolate chips instead of nuts- tasty but crumbly and not photo worthy anyway.   And, everyone's favorite - Chocolate Matzo Crunch, totally addictive, even if you are stuffed to the gills by the time dessert rolls around.

 Playing sou-chef to Joanna is a lovely cycle of life thing for me... I remember her as a little girl being my big helper along with her sister... the cleaning the house and getting ready... not so much fun as baking.  Now I'm the helper.  I was going to take a picture of the wonderful kitchen chaos, but her "Mummy, you can't possibly take my picture like this!" stopped me in my tracks.  It's nice to see the traditional dishes some of which started at my table - Gingery Carrot Tzimmis, Potato Kugel (same post), chopped liver, gefilte fish and others she's added along the way - especially her stuffed leg of lamb.  We would all be disappointed if those dishes didn't grace the table.  Roasted asparagus with chive vinaigrette - chives from her garden - almost didn't make it to the table - another tradition  of almost forgetting the green vegetables.
That's about the old traditions, next is about the new - the next generation and some of my favorite moments.  By the way, it took eight photos to get a family portrait - and this one is the best of the bunch.  Hard to get little boys to sit still even in the time it takes to say "falafel".
Unless of course there are pickles!  Dov, three, and from now on to be referred to as Pickle Boy must have eaten half a jar all by himself.
His older brother, Boaz, five, was serious about the ceremony of the seder and asked the Four Questions without assistance - They are usually asked by the youngest member of the family.  This is the first time that Kayla, Ezra's sister hasn't asked them.  Now she's a mom, but baby Briella is only a few months old, so...Boaz took on the role.  Another cycle of life moment.
I do find it interesting... the morning after, that once again, although food is the focus for Jewish women for days before the seder, it wasn't what I focused my camera on.  It was the joy of being together.

Whatever holidays you celebrate, I wish you the best of them and hope you get to enjoy them with your traditions, your family and friends.


Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

This was such a beautiful post, I really enjoyed reading it! What a lovely time together with your family. The kids are too cute! My boys are 4 and 6 and love pickles too :), kids are so silly. The cycle of life you mentioned really made me smile.

Ruth Daniels said...

Thanks for the lovely comment. Glad I made you smile.... glad my grandkids aren't the only ones who think they can live on pickles.