What kind of seder are you hosting this weekend? Do you strive for elegance, perfection, or tradition? (Hey, and while you're in the kitchen, why don't you fix your face for once?)
food, religion, holidays, recipes, skin care
I'll be going to my first seder on Friday! I'm excited.
I'm going to try and make kosher brisket enchiladas with tortillas made using matzah baking restrictions. We'll see.
@Emby I'm going to my first seder this weekend too. With my newish (5 months) boyfriend. To meet his WHOLE family (including nosy Aunt Jerry, about whom I've already been forwarned). I will be the only non-Jew, not to mention the Shiksa on Trial. Oh, and did I mention that I grew up in the WASPiest of WASPy neighborhoods and have frightfully little knowledge of Judaism in general? Am I nervous?....nooo, I'm perfectly zen. Just so effing calm. Sure.
@Emby erm, I don't know how else to say this, but don't enchiladas usually involve some cheese? brisket + cheese = not kosher.
@stonefruit Oh, crap, good point. Maybe just cheese enchiladas?
@Emby just be careful about the cheese - some cheese has rennet in it which makes it non-kosher :(
@Emby I think your best bet is most likely to check with your hosts about how strict they are in keeping kosher/kosher for Passover. It really varies among Jews. Some only eat cheese that is certified kosher for Passover, which is expensive and hard to find; some only eat cheese that is certified kosher, which is less expensive and less hard to find; and some eat regular cheese, which is delicious.
Also, some folks try to eat only food that is cooked in a kitchen that has been made kosher for Passover. Your best bet may be either to cook something in their kitchen or to buy prepared kosher for Passover food (apparently everybody appreciates a box of those nasty "fruit slices" with the sugar coating?). Or, as suggested below: wine! flowers!
SO MANY RULES, wow. In other news, this is the time of year when my avocado consumption goes through the roof.
@stonefruit I second this. I keep Passover pretty strictly (no legumes and previously no corn derivatives), but I don't worry about everything I eat being Kosher-certified. And at my extended family's seder last year, even though all of the food was mostly Passover-kosher, my sister and I were the only ones even keeping Passover.
Also, chocolate-covered marshmallows and flourless chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream are generally welcome. Though last year Passover fell on my birthday and above family got me an ice cream cake, which was the best thing to happen to me in weeks. (Though it probably had corn syrup in it, see above)
@Emby A lot of types of enchiladas don't have cheese in them (some just have a tomato sauce type thing, also salsa verde enchiladas). I think it would probably be tastier to do cheeseless enchiladas with a tasty enchilada sauce than enchiladas with cheese but no meat.
@Emby It's possible that I'm alone in my reservations about the matzah tortillas, but especially if you're new to baking with matzah meal, I think I would skip this recipe. There are many wonderful dishes you can make that are designed to work with, not against, the restrictions of Passover. My mom has a great k-for-p brownie recipe that uses matzah meal, for example. I agree with others--ask your hosts about their restrictions and then bring/make something that falls within those boundaries and seems like something they would normally eat.
@pinecone Alternatively, you can bring wine. Lots of wine. Wine is the best part of the seder*, because it hides the taste of the gefilte fish.
*My husband's family is Jewish, but not the super-strict kind. Seders typically consist of "Ok, read page 4. Skip to page 37! Who's the youngest? Read the questions!! Is your glass empty? More WINE!"
@Emby Me, too! I'm so excited! Fortunately I was only charged with bringing a drink, so I'm off to find kosher wine later this afternoon.
I am having the seder where my boyfriend and I go to a huge gaming convention instead and then he spends a week trying to get his mother not to give him guilt trips about not having a seder.
@H.E. Ladypants PAAAAAAAAAAAAAX. Are you going to the girls' brunch? Or stitch & bitch? Because those are the only two things I absolutely know I'm doing and...Pinners at PAX!
@bowtiesarecool I didn't know there were Pinners at PAX meetups! Where are the deets? I really want to come!
@bowtiesarecool GUYS. PAX! My boy and his buddies are en route...right now, actually, and assuming they survive the overnight drive they'll be there tomorrow. Thinking of all of y'all this weekend, have fun! (I wish I were going!)
I will not be going to a seder (sadface) but I am sure as hell making my mother's unbelievably delicious charoset recipe!
Question: I need to bring a side dish to my friend's house for her family's Easter party on Sunday. Is it tacky to bring charoset to a bunch of Italian Catholics' Easter? I'm going to answer my own question and say yes.
@olivebee I say go for it!
@olivebee I'm an atheist and could not care less about the origins of food if it is delicious (except in an academic #funfact sort of way), but my family is pretty hardcore Catholic, and I don't think any of them would be offended if someone presented us with homemade yummies. You might have to explain what to do with it, but I think it's a nice gesture, regardless.
@olivebee Not tacky! I am Catholic and would think that it was awesome if someone brought charoset to my Easter dinner.
@olivebee I think mutual sharing of cultures (especially when involving food) is always a good idea.
@olivebee I'd say do it, and if anyone tries to say anything, remind them Jesus was jewish.
@olivebee Charoset is never tacky. Charoset is always delicious - I mean, what's not to love? Apples! Walnuts! (okay in my case, Pecans!) Honey! Cinnamon! Sweet wine!
@olivebee Oh no, my super mega Catholic family would be in love with this. Passover is a big part of Easter Week (the Holy Thursday/Last Supper stuff was a passover meal).
@OhMarie Someone brings food to an Italian house = door is always open.
@everyone Wow, awesome! I was a little afraid it would be tacky in the sense that it might seem like I was foisting my heritage on someone else's, but I'll take all your words for it that it would be welcomed. Time to go buy some apples and wine!
@olivebee Echoing what everyone else said--Italians are not going to turn down homemade goodies, ever, the end. (This is coming from an Italian, trust.) Your only issue will be finding space on the table/in the kitchen/anywhere. Also GIRL you are going to eat WELL this weekend.
@olivebee I think you'd only be rude/foisting your heritage on others if you forced people to eat the dish. If you cheerily explain that you brought something to try and explain what's in it, then let people make their own decisions about eating it, then you should be golden!
I am not Jewish (cheerful neighborhood atheist reporting for duty!) but my fabulous Jewish buddies have graciously allowed me to crash many a fabulous Seder. Including one conducted using the Secular Humanist Haggadah, which was marvelously "GO TEAM JEW! YEAH SPRING! ORANGES ON THE SEDER PLATE!"
@angermonkey Friend-seders (as opposed to family) are usually so much fun! I wish they happened in my life more often. I am also an atheist, but my mother's side of the family is Jewish, and where I grew up Jews are one in a bazillion, so I tend to still adopt Jewish traditions because they were so novel to me as a child.
@angermonkey Growing up, my family had a, um, party seder? We used a children's Haggadah. And we made plague bags as favors and also for throwing (HAIL!). I miss those seders.
@angermonkey Oh man, I just remembered how the woman who leads our seder wanted to change to a much more neutral/inclusive Haggadah, and how NONE OF US could remember the new words. The children's Haggadah we used was so much more fun. Games! More songs!
@anachronistique My strongly atheist/secular relatives always host Passover, which has always confused me, and one of them likes to find uber-progressive Haggadahs online to use. Which, every year, leads to my cranky grandmother spending the entire seder rolling her eyes and muttering, to their indifference.
@Faintly Macabre In principle I am all in favor of gender-neutral language, but the prayer over the wine is literally the only Hebrew I remember year to year and it throws me off.
@Faintly Macabre oh man, I am with your grandmother. I am too old/am set in my ways/learned all the prayers and blessings before gender-neutral language, and I stubbornly refuse to slow my roll to pick them up.
trad egal all the way!
I am hosting my very first seder! It is going to be me and a bunch of non-jews which hopefully means that no one will care if I fuck up, which I definitely will. Like most events I host, it is being sold as "Annepersand cooks a lot of food; her friends are appreciative and bring wine; everyone drinks way too much and can't remember what they ate." I was hoping that my mother's annual Pesach tears would be ones of pride, and not the usual "the suffering of my people" variety, but she's just upset that I haven't started cooking already and don't plan to go grocery shopping until tomorrow.
Also the shank bone on the seder plate is going to be replaced with a sweet potato because although we are not vegetarians, I cannot resist a good pun*.
*(It's the paschal yam.)
@annepersand Yay, have fun! I'm jealousssss.
@annepersand Yay you! Such a big step! (I mean that not at all condescendingly - I am doing the same this year, and I think I'm awesomely brave for doing it :) )
@annepersand "Paschal yam" made me cackle out loud.
@annepersand I'm hosting a seder for non-Jews, too! I've done it before, but usually with a co-host--this will be my first time hosting a real, big seder all by myself.
The best part about doing a seder with people who've never been to one before is that no one has any opinions about what/how you should do things, so you can do whatever you want! The worst part is that no one knows the songs, so you're stuck singing Dayenu by yourself while everyone else looks lost.
@anachronistique Me too. That was priceless, in fact.
@thinksmall Also, I have been asked to be the Christian person who drives the Orthodox people to the Conservative seder. I am happy to do it, and the best part is... you get to stick around for the meal. And fellowship. Yay!
@thinksmall One of my best friends' dad arranged all of the seder songs to the melodies of pop songs from the sixties...think Beach Boys/Beatles seder. I am trying really hard to remember what song is what now and can't...damnit. Anyway as a nice side benefit it means that at our tribe's Orphan Seder we of the Adopted Christian/Other Thing contingent can usually at least pick up the tune after a sec
I'm converting to Judaism, so I'm going all out this year. And by all out I mean all of my seders are OUT of my kitchen/house. And apparently the first night seder I'm attending is being hosted by some big-shot appeal court judge, so that'll be interesting. I haven't been to a seder since I was 6, so I'm freaking out over what to bring/wear!!
@OaklandBooty Woo convert seders! I'm starting the conversion process at some point in the near future, so was trying to get more involved in seder prep this year myself. We were even going to host! But since our house isn't exactly child proof, were relieved of those responsibilities. So now I'm thinking my role will be making these addictive flourless chocolate walnut cookies, bringing some wine and drinking too much with my boyfriend's siblings. And thus I vote with Jane: bring wine, wear clothes! Maybe pencil skirt/cute top/statement necklace or earrings?
Also, am I the only one looking at that bon appetit link to passover menus and just wanting to eat all the grilled cheese they're advertising the top bar?
@OaklandBooty @hulia ...As someone who maaaaaay be under a teeensy bit of pressure to convert and is therefore kinda sort of tossing the idea around (and then tossing it out and then picking it up, dusting it off and thinking about it again)would you guys mind telling me a little bit about your conversion processes?
@OaklandBooty BEST USERNAME EVER HOLLLLAAAAAAAA.
@Jane Marie I love you Jane Marie!!! <3
@H.E. Ladypants I've been trying to convert since I was (no joke) 12. Been waffling ever since, so i definitely hear you! So, this year, at 26, I started really seriously thinking about it! I'd suggest picking up a copy of "Choosing A Jewish Life" by Anita Diamant, as it'll sort of help you sort your feelings out (or at least it helped me, anyway). I'm lucky enough to live in LA where there are multiple conversion classes for Reform and Conservative Judaism (can't help you if you wanna go Orthodox unfortunately); I have been taking classes from this place -->http://www.judaismbychoice.org. I've heard the Union for Reform Judaism also offers good classes. Hit me up if you wanna talk more in depth about it off-thread!
@Jane Marie except except except - probably make sure it's kosher wine. If you're in OAK, check at Oakland Kosher or honestly even Trader Joe's has some decent ones.
Ah, I see you're in LA. For heaven's sake, you can probably find kosher wine in like your corner bodega. ::is jealous of areas of the country with large Jewish populations and attendant selection of kosher food/beverages::
@hulia Yay fellow convert! Those cookies sound awesome...It might make these for next week when I'm craving leaven. http://theshiksa.com/2011/04/08/passover-chocolate-chip-cookies/. I think I will take you & Jane Marie's advice on clothes! I think I'm mostly worried I'll be under/over dressed for it :/
@thebestjasmine hahaha THANKS YO!! 510 for life!
@H.E. Ladypants I haven't started anything yet, but my plan is to take a class (I'm thinking here, but now want to inquire about the ones @OaklandBooty mentioned!) and, um, I'll figure out what I need to do there? I'm admittedly not particularly well informed on the whole process, though.
@OaklandBooty Ack, I was lame on the linking before, but this is the recipe for the cookies. They are fantastic.
@OaklandBooty Oooh. Thanks for the infos. And I would love to talk off-thread. My circumstances are a bit odd and talking to someone who's gone through the dealio would be very helpful to me!
@OaklandBooty Is there a PM function here or should I toss out the email deets?
@hulia Ha. Fair! Thank you!
@stonefruit yeah, I keep ....85% kosher so I got my kosher stores on lock down :) I was actually thinking of bringing flowers just to be 100% on the safe side!
@H.E. Ladypants @OaklandBooty Ooh, can I get on in this side thread action?
@hulia holy...crap. those look AMAZING.
@OaklandBooty I literally quoted that line (in reference to myself, obvs) earlier today.
@thebestjasmine yessss! I find myself saying it all the time! I even thought about getting one of those name plate necklaces and putting Oakland Booty instead of my name!
@stonefruit I live on Philly's Main Line and my local supermarkets have kosher SECTIONS, neener neener. (Not that I shop in them, but they're comforting to have!)
@stonefruit @Jane Marie Are we talking Kosher WINE? Because you should look here --> http://www.sippingseder.com/category/recipes/.
Also, anyone have a heads up to a newbie on getting a hyperlink to insert?
@AJ Sparkles I do! I do! < a href = " Your link url here " > Text you want to link here < / a > Minus all the spaces!
@OaklandBooty WELCOME!!! to the club.
@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher You just made me do THIS!!!! (Discretely, at my desk)
Did it work?
@AJ Sparkles Doesn't look like it, but sometimes if you go back and edit your comment after you've html'd it, the html disappears. Try it again?
@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Arg! What about now? AHAHAHAH! Got it!
@littlebearleah thank you!!!! It's an awesome club.
@Faintly Macabre RUDE.
I love my city/area, and my community, but this "weensy population of religious Jews" business kills me when I go grocery shopping. I don't miss the Main Line (although college was definitely rad!), but what I wouldn't give for a grocery store with more than just one shelf of kosher goodies ...
Holy shit, I should make charoset for group dinner tomorrow. Don't know if I'll find matzah, but charoset can be done!
My friend who often hosts seders is with her FAMILY this year, so no seder for me. I love them so much (I am Catholic) and last year had the best charoset ever (it was apparently a Sephardic version).
You guys! I learned a very important lesson this week, and I need to warn everyone: don't try to make gefilte fish at home. I tried this recipe, because I actually own this cookbook:
and it was total fishy disaster. I thought we were being so clever by going to the Asian market for carp, but by the time my spouse was done heroically skinning and boning the filets there were fish bits all over the kitchen and there was hardly any fish left. I had to go to [local overpriced yuppie market] and buy expensive fish to bulk up the recipe.
So then it calls for a CUP of matzo meal for 3 pounds of fish. I thought that sounded high, but who am I to argue with the Second Avenue Deli? It also calls for ground carrot and celery and 6 eggs. They say to refrigerate overnight, then cook in fish stock the next night.
So last night we're cooking these fish balls, and OF COURSE they didn't hold together, because they're all full of matzo meal, and after they boiled for 90 minutes we took the falling-apart clumps of fishball out, and they had no flavor whatsoever. They tasted like a matzo ball with a vague fish aroma, which OF COURSE, they have a cup of freaking matzo meal and six eggs in them.
So then I see, the recipe's on Epicurious, and it has 17 reviews. Oh good, let me see what everyone else did to make this recipe work. Well do you think a single one of those 17 reviews is from a person who actually cooked the recipe? No, every last one is by an argumentative Jew expressing an opinion about whether or not a geflite fish recipe ought to have sugar and/or offering their bubbe's recipe as an alternative.
Spouse wants to serve it anyway -- he says "Gefilte fish is gross, everyone's expecting it to be bad, so why not?" First of all, I actually like the stuff from the jar, and I just wanted this to be better; and secondly, I hold myself to high standards and I just can't put this ugly tasteless stuff in front of my guests.
Worst part: When I came downstairs this morning, the whole house still smelled like fish.
Silver lining: At least this finally motivated us to learn how to work the fish counter at the Asian market, which is crazy complicated and every previous time we just gave up.
@Jillsy Sloper That smell will stick around for a few days, trust me. That's one of the strongest memories of childhood holidays.
I AM (CO-)HOSTING MY OWN SEDER THIS YEAR FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME!!!!! There have been many calls with my mom and my aunties, to check recipes.
My seder is going to be pretty traditional (we're doing the whole darn thing, and we'll probably be there until midnight), but the people attending are all feminists/feminist-adjacent, and one is a religious studies grad student whose area of focus is women and Jewish law. I am so freaking excited!*
* Also terrified. At least I know the food will be yummy!
@stonefruit Also! Are you in SF Bay Area? Do you need a first-night seder? Do you like smallish groups of friendly, nerdly, Jewy (let's say somewhere in the Conservadox range) people? You are welcome at my seder! email me at rebrill at yahoo dot com.
@hulia @H.E. Ladypants let's do it! e-mail me at natasha dot tomich at gmail! Can't say I have all the answers and some of it is confusing, but my rabbi says that's a very Jewish experience. :)
Shoot, I was in a meeting and I missed this! I happen to be half-jewish and happen to have several friends who are as well so we have an annual Seder Sleepover with Easter Brunch. It's the best. THE BEST.
@sox WHAT. Brisket, sleep, and mimosas for everybody!!!!!!
@OhMarie Dooooooooooooooo it. And put grown up things like twenties or buds (ahem, if applicable to your audience) in the eggs for the egg hunt.
I am going home for HIPPIE SEDER. We've been having it with two other families since I was a weester, all three of which are mixed marriages and have kids the same age as me and my brother, and now there are adorable grandkids who sing the Four Questions and boyfriends and girlfriends and random stragglers. Not only do we have an orange on the seder plate and a glass of water for Miriam, we have puppets and a Passover Rap. Also the roundtable casting of a hypothetical movie, in which James Earl Jones is always the voice of the burning bush, and the annual game of Leaving Egypt which takes like forty-five minutes but skipping it would lead to outright revolt. And my dad brings tortilla de patatas and we have homemade gefilte fish (not made by me so I cannot counterbalance Jillsy Sloper's tale!) and there is so much wine and all the singing and it's wonderful.
I AM REALLY EXCITED TO GO HOME FOR PASSOVER.
And then Sunday we're doing Easter with my dad's Spanish cousin and her family. Which means even more wine.
@anachronistique Passover Rap?! This sounds like a truly fantastic weekend of holidays.
@anachronistique I WANT TO COME. Also I am sad that I don't live near any of my Jewish friends, because Seder sounds like a party.
@hulia It doesn't scan at all. It's hilarious.
@E-W EVERYBODY IS WELCOME. And I believe the seder should be a party! We're celebrating our liberation from slavery!
I've never been to a seder but now I want to go to one because Jewish food is delicious, and also like let's start a really cool cooperative Judeo-Christian dialogue but also food.
I'm Catholic, so on most years I'd be "looking forward to" (by which I mean not looking forward to) lamb, which I don't really like, and also how does that even make sense from a religious perspective? but this year, my aunt is going to make a sugar shack feast and it's going to be sooo much better than lamb, and if I have time I'm making maple cupcakes for one of our many desserts.
We go for casual and slightly tipsy pot luck seders, with plagues finger puppets, a very hippie granola feminist haggadah, and I don't think we've ever actually finished the whole thing. Always a good time.
Oh man my ENTIRE FAMILY is descending upon me tomorrow. I am doing first night and my uncles, who live by me, are doing the second night. I made my dessert and my haroset tonight. Oh also I am still working all day tomorrow and most of Friday. BUSY BUSY BUSY. Also I am SO HAPPY that there is a website out there that recognizes that there is another holiday happening this weekend besides Easter. Jewish sisters unite!
@Lindsay "The Dilettantista" Gordon ZOMG-D, so with you on the nonsense of working all day on Friday. As a result, I have literally cooked every night this week, and will also be cooking tonight. Yesterday I cooked for 6 hours straight after work. So far I have made: chicken soup, matzah balls, charoset, tzimmes, two types of sorbet, and that Rose Berenbaum flourless chocolate oblivion torte. Tonight I am making matzah farfel kugel and spinach souffle. Another friend made brisket and mashed potatoes last night. THERE IS SO MUCH FOOD, PEOPLE, and all of it is making me so happy.
Atheist-Jew-Chef here with last year's report! Matzah crusted pork loin with Manachevitz reduction served with bacon-parmesan koogle (coogle?) I believe I was kicked out of the tribe thereafter.
@AJ Sparkles kugel!
@AJ Sparkles Read as "Atheist-Jew-in-Chief" and loved it. Still love it, but assumed you were the head of the Atheist Jews and could speak for everyone. :) Menu sounds deliciously blasphemous.
@AJ Sparkles that sounds amazing. AMAZING.
(I keep kosher. Sometimes I really miss bacon.)
@blee KUGEL! How'd I miss that? Ahh, such a bad Jew! (see above)
@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher BRB, changing name to Atheist-Jew-in-Chief. I'm pretty sure it comes with a scepter & headgear & sensible boots for ass kicking.
When the naysayers attack with the old "Judaism isn't a culture, it's a religion" whine- they get bacon kugel- in the face- with Parmesan & chives. The convert rate will be amazing.
Welp. Seven-Up Brisket, mundlebread with both chocolate chips and a chocolate layer, and best of all, fruit slices. Aka, things that make it worth putting up with my Jewish American Princess aunt. >.>
I cannot wait until I can host seders and Channukah parties with actual friends... as much as I love parts of my family, I'd rather celebrate with people I have something in common with other than genes (Except for that one cousin who does the Nerd thing. Yeah.)
Also: to keep kosher? to not keep kosher? That is the question...
We always do the FAMILY TRADITION. *sings Tradition! from Fiddler on the roof*. 6 hour meal, lots of talking about Moses n' Friends.
Gefilte fish and a hardboiled egg with horseradish.
My Mom's INCREDIBLE Motzah Ball Soup
Turkey or Brisket with baked potatoes, sweet potatoes and apples (baked together with margarine and cinnamon), some other vegetable....and some stuff for the vegetarian guy attending our seder.
Dessert? Fruit and fake whipped cream, some terrible passover cakes, some chocolate seder mints.
Plus my dog will bark half the time, and my sister and I will squabble. Ah. Family.
My sister has currently spent two days yelling at my mom about charoset (no idea why finding a recipe and putting it together is worth that much energy). Also my potato kugel is green (from the potatoes) and quite delicious (I sampled it to make sure no one would be poisoned). I love love Passover.
I am going to a post-art-show seder cocktail party one week late, next Friday, because the hosts are out of town this weekend.
I am making matzo toffee, courtesy of Princess Slayer's tip. I will be the most popular person there.
@DH@twitter MATZO CRACK yes please
I'm going to miss seder this year because Saturday is the only day my boyfriend can get together with his kids for Easter dinner. I'm not Jewish, so it's NBD, but I will miss the food and the family. We're hoping to get there in time for dessert, though it's the dinner part that I like best (except for Uncle Craig's flourless chocolate "cake"). DAMN I WILL MISS THAT BRISKET.
Best seder ever was at my 70-year-old co-worker's house. 7 hours long, 40 people, kids everywhere, amazing potluck dinner, whipping each other with green onions during dayeinu, and being smuggled kosher-for-passover pot brownies in a brown paper bag by said co-worker's hippie son and grandsons. I left at 2 am, high and drunk and out of my mind. I am not sure how I got home safely. It was awesome.
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