Donny was stuck in a long trial in Arizona; Seth flew home from San Francisco to spend Passover with the family. Here he’s chopping apples & nuts for the holiday food, Charoset, by pounding on a hand-held chopper with a hammer–I don’t believe this is an approach my mother or my grandmother would have recognized.
Helen finishes off the recipe with a dose of Manishewitz wine, the only kind of wine I personally have ever understood. As is my tradition of many many years, since the Ancient Epoch of The Cassette Tape, I play Passover cassette tapes nonstop day and night throughout the Passover preparations. Every year the sole surviving cassette player in the house has sunk deeper and more dustily into a closet; but every year (despite my children’s wishes to stick an Ipod into an Ipod-player and blast hip-hop across the kitchen) I find it! Avodim Chayinu, chayinu, chants a children’s chorus.
Now the table is ready for the seder. The family dresses up; the friends arrive.
This is a crowd that loves strong spicy horseradish. The notion that the burning taste of it on our tongues is supposed to remind us of the bitterness of the years of slavery in Egypt is lost on my children, who surmise that the Egyptian slaves used more interesting spices than their mother does.
Seth reads aloud from a family favorite, the rhyming TEN PLAGUES OF EGYPT by Shoshana Lepon, during which the guests shout out the last word of each stanza.
Next came the second plague:
Frogs, big and bumpy.
They hid in the houses
And made people….
“Jumpy!” we all yell.
But highest marks go to my chicken soup & matzo balls; Seth’s hammered charoset comes in for some praise, too.
When the first half of the service is finished and it’s time to search for the Afikomen, the hidden matzo, I calm the fears of our youngest guests. In this house, EVERYONE finds a piece of the Afikomen (which I have broken into as many pieces as we have youthful guests eager to search), EVERYONE wins a prize!
Congratulations on the highest marks for your chicken soup and matzo balls! Having just finished reading your book, I know that your food is not always so well received. I’m in the same boat in my home but it’s nice to have a husband who knows his way around the kitchen!