Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Seders

As Passover draws to its conclusion, I wanted to reflect on my holiday seders, some of the happiest (even with the sad memories) times of my life.

Our family seders are slightly different than the seders I grew up with. My grandfather was very traditional. He ran he entire seder in Hebrew, never skipping even one word of the ceremony. I remember sitting with my cousins, bored and hungry, waiting for food to come out

When I say our seders are different, I am not just referring to the way we read. The above picture is my son, with the spoon sitting proudly on his nose. We go around the table, each person reading a part, in English or in Hebrew, so everyone is involved. But that is just a part of it. We tend to act out many of the parts. My son even used to bring props to the table. He had hats to represent all the characters. He had an outstretched hand, and a surprise for the poor person who got to open the door for Eliaju. This year, my sister-in-law brought disk shooting guns so we could kill the first born at the right moment.

One of the special things about our seders is that we pick up "orphans", people that have no where to go for the holidays. Over the years we've had friends, neighbors, bar acquaintances and I have even invited students. Aside from Jews, we've had Protestants, Muslims and Catholics. Our most unusual guest was the Catholic from Argentina who did not speak a word of English.
This year our "orphans" included my son's best friend and his new wife, two Italian Catholic kids. They brought really good Kosher wine and learned the four questions phonetically in Hebrew. We also had a teacher friend of mine who had never experienced anything quite like the night here but is hoping to be invited back next year (He will be.)

We never have a seder without the requisite bottle of ketchup.

I forgot to buy a new package of sugar so I had to open up all the little packets we've accumulated over the years. My family found this funny as I needed two cups of sugar.

For my specialty--vegetarian chopped liver. (I refuse to even cook the real thing.)

Our seder-night one.

The vegetarian chopped liver in its final form.

Charoses--walnuts, apples and lots of wine.

My son made a mean salad.

Homemade cole slaw--one of daughter's favorites.

Matzoh ball soup--I won't win Bobby Flay's throw down, but they do taste really good. I have a pot full of floaters.

We are loud and crazy but we read every word and sing quite a few songs. We might seem like we don't care about tradition, but we do. The work is exhausting and the headache I have afterwards lasts for hours but it is all worth it. I'll bitch and complain (my specialty) and willingly do it all again next year.

The best part of this years seder was that my dad was happy. He did not shed even one tear for my mom. I fortified myself with some extra wine which helped make me miss her less.
Most of the Passover things are now put away. We are looking forward to our traditional end of the holiday with pizza (not until 8:30 tonight.) As much as we all complain, I know next years holiday is already on every one's mind.


appple said...

i am dying to know what vegetarian chopped liver is. it sounds amazing. would you be willing to indulge me the recipe?

Pissedoffteacher said...

Vegetarian chopped liver
1 cup sliced msuhrooms
1 cup chopped onions
3 tbs margarine
3 hard cooked eggs
1/4 lb shelled walnuts
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

saute mushrooms, onions inmargarine unit golden brown. Throw them in food processor with egss, walnuts, refrigerate.

I don't use these measurements, I add what seems right at the moment. I also add some garlic.


mathmom said...

At some point in our Seder, my oldest son (a bit younger than yours, judging from the facial hair) was balancing a spoon on his nose as well. ;-)

I make a similar vegetarian chopped liver. Yum. :)

Your seders sound great.

appple said...

a bit delayed on the gratitude, but thank you! i'm going to cook this up sometime this week, as practice for next year's seder. thanks!