Between Wednesday and today, I have prepared our home for the upcoming holiday of Passover.
Preparing for Passover is like spring cleaning to the next level.
Not only do the preparations involve emptying, cleaning and refilling all kitchen cabinets and appliances; they also involve selling, disposing and/or hiding (for the more secular/modern) the foods that do not meet the dietary restrictions of the holiday.
I remember the process taking days in my grandmother’s home, and I was pretty surprised that even my small (though functional and magnificent little jewel box) kitchen took about four hours to get in order. And that is with a pretty fair amount of obsession and attention to detail.
Passover begins on Monday evening, but since cooking for the holiday will take place before it begins, it is important to clean the kitchen prior stocking ingredients for Passover meals.
My game plan was to head to Fairway for all of the fixins and then head home to clean. The delivery window from Fairway to my apartment is about two hours, so I cleaned the refrigerator first so that I would be able to put all of the fresh ingredients away upon arrival. Then I moved on to the pantry, appliances and other cabinets where food may have been stored at some time.
I also replaced a number of pans that had seen better days. This gives me new pans for Passover that I can continue to use and enjoy after the holiday.
One of the biggest challenges for vegetarians keeping the holiday is how restrictive it is. So many people think that the only restriction is bread and other rising foods, but that just isn’t true. The dietary restrictions extend to such hippie-friendly foods as oats, grains, some nuts, beans and other products containing derivatives of those ingredients. This, for me, makes it a challenge to get through the eight days of the holiday.
Still, it is one of my favorite holidays on the calendar.
And I don’t know that I take away from it what I used to, about the parting of the sea, wandering in the desert and being chosen. My inner yeshiva girl thinks that is what it is all about. But as I have gone through life, I have found new meaning for different things that enables me to continue to admire and appreciate them, even as my worldview evolves.
Now I think of it so much more as a time for renewal (welcoming spring, freshening your home, sharing with friends and family) and a time for reflection (remembering how hard my grandmother cooked and cleaned for the holiday, helping to make kubbeh at the kitchen table and proudly serving it to our many guests, learning to fold napkins in different fancy ways, and the way our table looked when it was full of familiar faces — and so much food).
If you are celebrating Passover this week, Easter next week or simply welcoming spring, I wish you peace and happiness.