Monday, March 22, 2010

Counting Down to Passover

Plans for next week’s Passover seder are underway.  I’ve started making lists and shopping.  My husband is working on putting together a Haggadah, pulling from things we’ve used in the past, adding some new ideas.  (For anyone who hasn’t experienced a seder, the Haggadah contains the Exodus story in stories, songs, and verse.)

First we’re trying to figure out how many people are coming.  The Temple Micah website allows anyone the chance to ask to share someone’s seder.  It also allows people with extra seats to host those who ask.  We have signed up for 5 of these people, only one of which is a Micah congregant.  One guy is from Albuquerque and will be here on business next week.  There is a gay couple who are BOTH converting to Judaism.  And another woman who is 59 and is a potential new member.  In addition we have invited 5 good friends, three of whom are Catholic, and our son.  For now, at least, that makes 13.

Does anyone have the slightest idea what the white prickly thing is?  It’s called a roller docker.  It is used in making pizza dough and in making matzo.  It turns you can spend a lot of money on one of these, not exactly a standard tool in most kitchens, or you can spend $12 at Sur la Table for the plastic version (as I did today).  I’m hoping it will work just fine for the matzo that will be made on Saturday.

I’m trying not to make this an ambitious menu, but the Passover seder meal is by nature  complicated with all the various things you must serve and people must eat and the restrictions on what cannot be eaten.  My problem is I refuse to buy gefillte fish or horseradish or now even matzo and insist on making my own.  When will I ever learn?

Here’s a question:  Flour is one of the forbidden foods during Passover.  Why is it then that you can use flour to make matzo?  And then you can grind up matzo into meal and use that in place of flour in recipes?  Does that make any sense?


Blogger Steve said...

I thought it was the leavening that was the issue, not the flour. But what do I know?

It's great that you can sign up to host visitors. I can't wait to hear the story of the two converts! I wonder if one (or both) of them have Jewish roots somewhere in their past?

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason you can't use flour is that it could have come into contact with water, and fermentation is thought to take place in 18 minutes (thus, the process of making matzo must take place in less than 18 minutes, to prevent it from rising). So, it's OK to use matzo meal in place of flour, even though the matzo is made from flour!

Judy K.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- The Exodus story very specifically tells us to reach out to strangers "for you were strangers in the land of Egypt", so it's a natural thing to include people you don't know in a seder. I bought some name tags!

I'll let you know the story of the gay couple. They sound delightful!

Judy -- Thanks for the explanation. That answers a question I have long had. I bought a box of the kosher-for-passover matzo knowing that mine will not be kosher in the least (except for perhaps the fact that I make them in 18 minutes, but who's really counting?)

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE the "reaching out to strangers" element. Thanks for explaining that. Moves me to tears.


12:03 AM  
Blogger Rayna said...

Ha my husband and his ex-wife hosted a priest and a nun one year and (need I say?) they ran off, left the church, and got married shortly thereafter. How romantic.

I spent so much at the supermarket today that they gave me TWO free 5 lbs. packs of matzos instead of the one you get when you spend $50 or more. LOL. I see a lot of matzo brei in my future. Wishing you a sweet pesach.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

So confusing but I like reading the explanations.

I actually have a second to catch up, so I'm reading from oldest to newest. Maybe I shouldn't comment. Hmmmm...

9:04 AM  

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