Family Passover Dinner 2017


seder plate

On Saturday I started The Big Push, as we called it when my mother would start her preparations for a big gathering. Monday, April 10, is the first night of Passover. It’s observed at a seder, a special dinner. For the first time in quite a while I’ll have all my children and their families here. My newest granddaughter, Madison, was a preemie, and not allowed to go into society until after the RSV season was over. We missed celebrating my and Eric’s birthdays, so Shelley is bringing a cake for dessert.

The first thing was to plan the menu, which I did while listening to the Phoenix Symphony play Beethoven’s Ninth and Ode to Joy last Sunday with friends. I decided on matzo ball soup, brisket in the crock pot, asparagus, peas (for the grandkids,) and baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. I also had to get the items for the seder plate: hardboiled eggs as the harbinger of spring, morar, horseradish, as the bitter herb to symbolize the bitterness of the slavery of the Jews in Egypt, ingredients for the charoset (apples, chopped nuts, grape juice, sugar, cinnamon and honey) to stand in for the mortar the slaves used to build for the Pharaoh, and karpas, parsley, to remind us of the hard and cruel work the slaves did. And a separate plate of three matzos.

I also must get a few bottles of wine. The traditional seder calls for at least four glasses, but we take sips instead of downing the whole glass. My mother always served Manishevitz, but I’m opting for Ménage a Trois red blend.

My housecleaner comes on Mondays, so I decided to do all the cooking over the weekend so she could do the final clean up before the family came.

seder table 2017

I set the table ahead of time and put out the heavy glasses so the kids could feel they were included. It turned out no one drank wine and we all drank grape juice.

Only my son Max and I are Jewish, but the family enjoys the traditions I’ve shared with them. There’s a book, the Hagaddah, which is used during a seder to tell the story of Exodus, the story of Passover. We use a children’s Hagaddah to get the gist of the holiday without boring the pants off my young grandchildren, aged ten, six and newborn. And four. All kids like the end of the meal the best. Right after we begin to eat, I hide a piece of matzo, the Afikomen. In order to end the meal, the piece must be found. The oldest adult, or host or hostess, offers a monetary reward and the kids whoop and holler until they find it.

The matzoh ball soup came out the best of all the dishes. I used Susan Bailyn’s Tangy Chicken Soup recipe. I tried a new recipe for the brisket that included Grey Poupon but it didn’t taste any different from prior years. I tried using Wondra to make the gravy. It turned out great except it was impossible to get out all the lumps with the wire whisk so I had to strain it.

Shelley texted me that it was Savy’s turn to take the kindergarten class’s chicks home and they couldn’t be left alone. I said to bring them.

Liz, Max, and four-year-old Charlotte arrived first. I showed Charlotte my “Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly puppet and Liz had to sing it many times. When Savy arrived I did it with her.



Nick and his family arrived. I had expected little yellow chicks. Wrong. These were adolescents and black and white. They still captivated the children.


Eric and his family were running late so the three older children played while Nick and Max did the items on my “honey-do” list. I’d asked for no presents for my birthday, but rather for them to accomplish the items on my list. Nick and Max attached my headboard and screwed in the sliders for baskets under my kitchen sink. Eric was left with the task of replacing my kitchen ceiling fan, which he’ll do at another time.

After Eric, Amy, and Madi arrived, we started the seder. No one wanted wine, so I poured the grape juice into the sturdy wine glasses. Max said the blessings with me. We went through enough parts of the Hagaddah that I think the kids understood the meaning of the holiday. The children kept making up excuses to leave the table to look for the Aikman.

Below are me and Madi, Charlotte and Elizabeth, and Max, Eric and Madi.

Below are Nick and Madi; and Nick and Abby

Below are Savy, Amy and Madi and Shelley and Savy.

Max, Nick, and Liz cleared the table and rinsed the dishes. It’s going to take three loads to do them. I was sentimental and used my mother’s china, even for the little kids. Savy found it and was very pleased with the five-dollar reward.

Shelley had made a delicious birthday cake, decorated with Peeps. Eric and blew out the candles.

Eric and Annie bday cake

When Shelley took the second photo, the family photo-bombed us.

fam and photo bomb

I love doing these family dinners because my children and grandchildren genuinely like each other and have fun. As do I.


One Response to “Family Passover Dinner 2017”

  1. Judy M Says:

    Enjoyed reading! You know if I were there, I would have enjoyed ALL the wine!!🍷

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: