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Pesach in January?

Here we are in January and I’m already thinking about Pesach.

Judy writes: Here we are in January and I’m already thinking about Pesach.  I’m not sure why – maybe it’s because I want the winter to come to an end sooner than later.  Maybe it’s because Pitchers and Catchers are reporting less than a month away and that marks the beginning of my favourite season – spring baseball. Or maybe I’m thinking about Passover because it seems that I need a head start now to avoid the inevitable panic that envelopes the family as the Seder and the week of Pesach draws nearer and nearer. 

Our family has the kind of Seder which brings our large family together – sometimes coming from across North America to eat and celebrate at one time in one place together – a rarity that happens every few years.  This takes a lot of planning – hotels, flights, taking time off school and work – and that’s before we even discuss what lies in the centre of the Seder – the food. 

At some time in February, an email will arrive to our in-boxes likely from my sister-in-law with a chart.  What are you planning on bringing to Seder? The chart is usually pre-filled because we all know what we want to bring, so much so that it’s now a tradition of its own. Our Seder wouldn’t be the same without the spicy eggplant, carrot kugel, my aunt’s sweet and sour meatballs, our mom’s gefilte fish and matzah ball soup and the way-too-many array of desserts that my daughter and I delight in preparing. We have a single long-into-the-night Seder filled with song, laughter, stories, traditions that are a constant reminder of our Jewish past, present and future. The next day and week we revisit the seder with the many, many leftovers that are the result of very generous portions and expectations.

The serious meal planning for the week of Pesach requires a lot of imagination.  We have our go-tos (Matzah lasagna, sheppard’s pie, stir fry, etc) that seem to keep a 16 year-old boy satisfied.  But for me, it is a year-long project to find new and fun things to serve during the week of Pesach.  If I’m online and a new recipe happens to be posted I check to see if it’s good for Pesach. I file it away in a folder and go back to the business at hand.  Easy.   

So, yes, we are in the middle of an icy cold snap and yes, Pesach isn’t until April. But, thinking and planning for the week of Pesach helps to bring a smile to my face and a little warmth to this very chilly winter day.