Last night started Passover. I admit I did a little Wikipedia research on Passover a few weeks ago just so I had some idea of what was going on. I liked having a reason to give the kitchen a thorough cleaning and Oliver made the stove look new. I bought all of the suspect foods for $1. The dinner was super-yummy: Spinach-eggy-lasagna-type thing (with matzo as the noodle layers), roasted potatoes, carrot salad, fresh horseradish from the garden, salad, and an apple-salad called haroset.
I really enjoyed Passover, and I think the Jewish holidays as a whole have been so much more fun than the Holidays I'm used to with my family. There's a good chance that this is because holidays in my family are just a good excuse to get together with family and friends and have a huge homemade Italian meal. Religion never had a place in my home. My parents never talked about God or their beliefs and I never really asked. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've been to church. This is all fine with me, as I find church boring. I remember my neighbors used to put a candle in a cupcake on Christmas and sing happy birthday to Jesus. This weirded me out and I've never seen or heard of anyone else doing this.
The thing is, I think Christian rituals are kind of meaningless. Most of the big holidays are not even accurate in their timing; they were timed to coincide with Pagan holidays to sort of over-ride them. You can't have a fertility celebration that leads to an orgy on the day Christ came back to life, that's just not right. And what the hell do chocolate, egg-laying bunnies have to do with Christianity anyway?
OK, these points have all been made before by other people, in more eloquent or fiery ways. So what is my point? My point is that I respect that the Jewish holidays do their own thing, as far as I can tell. They have stories and reasons behind everything. I may not really understand the point of having an entire set of dishes that you only use once a year because you don't want trace amounts of chametz on the plates, but at least I can understand the story and symbolism behind it. I understand the historical significance of it, even if the logic side of my brain is making an argument that sounds more and more like my mother every day.
I think, by far, my favorite part of the day was actually the cooking. Specifically the macaroons. Both Guv and Talula stood on stools to watch/help me make them. We had to separate 12 egg whites for the macaroons and I was showing Guv how to do this by moving the yolk carefully from one half of the eggshell to the other. I cracked an egg and gave him the halves and let him try it once. We were doing this over a separate bowl to be sure that no yolk got into the batter and also to make sure there were not blood spots in the eggs, which sometimes happens, even though the eggs are not fertile. Talula always wants to do what Guv does, so she wanted to try separating the egg whites as well. I cracked an egg and gave her half and then dropped the yolk from my half to hers. She got very excited and threw the yolk into the batter. Luckily it didn't break, so I just scooped it out, but Guv and I thought this was rather funny and whenever anyone else laughs Talula does too.
Do these boots make me look fat?
Links of interest:
12 Endangered Animals That People Still Eat
Gay Rights Groups Celebrate Victories in Marriage Push