As the chickens begin to lay eggs in earnest, the spring festivals approach. It’s no accident that these events require a lot of eggs–in my house, we need them for Passover. My pale green Americana eggs go perfectly with the holiday, and I’m supplementing with quail eggs, as these should please the children especially and be fun to peel and dip in salt water.
I’m not sure how my love for this holiday survived the boring hours of the Passover service I grew up with, or the dramatic fights between my observant father and my uncle the unbeliever. But somehow the magic of the haroset, the parsley, the roasted egg, the mysterious questions did survive.
I think the turning point for me might have been a Passover I attended in LA over thirty years ago, The large, boisterous family sang its way through the whole service. Since then, I’ve created my own Haggadah. It leaves out those long Hebrew passages and incorporates rituals like writing down and burning your own plagues. And it has lots of singing, chanting (in Hebrew and English), and laughing. It mixes pictures from ancient Haggadahs with pictures like this alleged Google earth representation of the parting of the Red Sea:
This year I read Joan Nathan’s Passover Countdown in last Wednesday’s NY Times, and happily adopted her matzoh ball recipe, which is terrific (I tried it out last week). There’s a short video of her making them in the link above. I also adopted her idea of having the children do a little play about Exodus…we’ll see how it goes. I have a basket of small rubber frogs and cricket clickers to enhance the plagues, too, along with some other eccentricities of my own, like replacing the lamb shank on the seder plate with a blood orange, a symbol for blood that doesn’t gross out the vegetarians. Everyone can eat a little slice of orange, too, which you can’t do with the lamb shank!
Joan also had an idea for roasting the eggs overnight in sand, and I emailed her to find out more. She graciously and promptly replied with her method, but while I can get my eggs to look caramelized inside, they don’t seem any creamier than a regular hard boiled egg. I’ll have to email her again after the great production that is Passover passes over!
(Post Passover note: we all had a wonderful time–including a four-year old’s addition of “and then he huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down” into the Passover story. All of us joined in. When I asked my granddaughter what the best thing about her spring vacation had been, she said Passover. So I am counting this as a real success.)