Well, folks. Passover is upon us. The cooking is done. All that’s left for me to do after work today is assemble the eggplant-tomato casserole at my ex’s and to help him set the table. And to hang on tight as I head into eight days of not eating out, not eating grains, not eating beans or corn or anything with those ingredients, and eight days of feeling a part of a tradition stretching back thousands of years.
Tonight at sundown we begin the celebration of the freedom that should be a human right: to be allowed to eat where and how and when you want, to not be a slave to someone else’s desires or needs, to not forget what it means to be imprisoned simply because you are not enslaved today.
For many Jews, Passover is a beloved holiday. The proscriptions for observance are centered in the home. The Seders involve singing and discussion and this communal meal that echoes ancient order. And as much as many of us complain about matzah making our tummies hurt, there is a familiarity to this holiday of complaining and kvetching about the Bread of Affliction that I cannot distance myself from. Read the rest of this entry →
Anyone else starting Passover prep?
Here’s what I did last weekend in order to start the thorough, divinely ordained, obsessive-compulsive, halachically elucidated purging of the five grains the Torah forbids us from consuming, eating, or gaining benefit from during the eight days of Passover, which begin this year on April 14, at sundown.
1. Croutons. Read the rest of this entry →
Last year, I was recently divorced when Purim fell. Purim, for those of you not in the know, is a spring holiday commemorating the near destruction and redemption of the Jewish community in Iran some 2000 years ago. For the record, it’s the Book of Esther, God’s name is curiously never mentioned in the entire Megillah that recounts it, and the hero of the story is actually a heroine named Esther. She’s awesome. Anyway.
Last year, amidst the still-clearing rubble of the mess and chaos that is divorce (even one that is managed extremely maturely and lovingly as my ex and I strive to do), my kids assumed that we would do a family costume like we always did. At that time they were 4 and 7. So we did a family costume in the middle of a divorce. We went as the cast of Tintin, with both of my boys as Tintin, my ex as the drunk Captain and me as Snowy the Dog, of course. Here’s me as Snowy in case you missed it last year. Read the rest of this entry →
Adar is the month of the Jewish calendar we are in, and it is the month when Purim falls. Purim is the holiday of merry-making, things being turned upside-down, things not being what they seem, desires revealed, identities shifting, and the reminder that a month from now, kitchens will be turned upside down as we prepare for Passover, with all of its delightful obsessive-compulsive cleaning and fastidiousness.
This month for me has definitely been Adar-ish. Lots of shifting of identities, and feeling upside down and trying to right myself. Caring for my sons amidst a book tour that has taken me away from them more than I like has been hard for us all, and we are trying to recalibrate.
Since I have always claimed I am a normal mom, I wanted to share some pictures of a normal mom weekend with my boys. Here’s how it shook down. Read the rest of this entry →
1. It’s Important To Try Scary Things
Sometimes we don’t want to do things because they have a lot of uncertainty attached to them. We don’t know how they will turn out and that feels yucky inside. Scary. Dangerous. But it’s OK. You are strong and you can handle it. I promise you can.
2. Words Can’t Kill You
Howard can’t hurt you with his words. No one can hurt you with their words in a way you can’t recover from. Of course words have power. But they can’t cut you like a knife. They can’t give you a boo boo on your head. You will be OK.
3. It’s Good To Show People You’re You
It’s important to protect a lot about you. You’re modest. You are socially conservative. But you also are a rebel. You’re very liberal. You have big ideas and you know how to talk about them. Howard wants you to come on his show because he’s curious about you. It’s OK to show him who you are. Read the rest of this entry →
I’m not always the best daughter. Sometimes I’m impatient, short-tempered, bossy, and annoyed with my mother. I work hard to promptly apologize to my mother when I’ve not behaved nicely but I admit that I don’t always do that perfectly either. I may be able to make up for every prickly thing I’ve ever said or done to my mother with this post, because I would like to talk about how she prepares for holidays such as Thanksgivukkah, which happens in a few weeks.
My mom is a great cook. Her Hungarian mother was also a great cook and I bet my grandmother’s mother was a good cook too, and so on, all the way back. My mother specializes in all kinds of food but her presentation, her attention to detail, and the joy with which she cooks and serves food are also noteworthy.
Since I had my first son eight years ago, my mother has started the mini-tradition of writing up menus before holidays. This serves a dual purpose. She is a Type A list-maker and, thus, making menus satisfies her list making needs. Secondly, she likes me to consult about the menu, make changes as needed, and select which items I will be helping with. Read the rest of this entry →
Best way to beat the summer heat? Those Tupperware (or other similar) popsicle makers. Seriously.
We fill ours with orange juice, limeade, and frozen berries. I also made some with pineapple chunks and those were a big hit with my boys.
As a kid, I remember long summer afternoons on the “stoop” (did you not know I grew up in the Bronx in the 1940s?) with a popsicle. This brings back those memories and makes new ones!
Looking for a Jewish way to enjoy your cold drinks this summer? Check out these fun, kitschy Star of David ice molds!
Purim is next Saturday night/Sunday. I’m getting divorced. Let me tell you what I’ve learned this Purim season: kids don’t give a good gosh darn if you’re getting divorced; they want you to show up for Purim in a family-themed costume.
Two years ago, we were all superheroes. I was Wonder Woman (tznius-style, complete with denim skirt past the knee rather than bathing suit), the elder son was Superman, the younger son was Batman, and the almost-ex was Robin. We were adorable.
For the past two weeks, Raising Kvell has been featuring a Rosh Hashanah recipe every day, leading up to the main event which begins at sundown this Sunday, September 16th. Today is my recipe for vegan honey cake.
2 egg equivalents (I use Ener-G egg replacer)
3/4 cup agave
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp oil Read the rest of this entry →