Recently I suggested the concept of NRL (Non Religious Lent). It has a big hit with our clients; regardless of religion clients are shunning stairs, sugar, office candy or alcohol. Fun. Sadly, Lent is coming to an end but have no fear Passover is here. What? You’re not Jewish? The word Gefilte scares you? Not to worry, we have a Passover primer and, of course, what would be a holiday without a food challenge?
First, Passover Vernacular
Seders- celebratory meals held on the first and sometimes second nights of Passover (Friday and Saturday). Here is a great NYT article on Seder specifics.
Matzoh cracker-like unleavened bread (see above) that can constipate you like no other food
Seder Plate- more symbolic than celebratory you’ll see a plate that’s reminiscent of those toddler plates with sections for different foods such as an egg and parsley.
Haggadah- the Passover story book, some families read for hours making this meal looooong, others do an abridged version.
The foods specifics:
- Matzoh Ball Soup- this is the matzoh holiday after all. Love “not your mamas” gluten free version.
- Charoset- there are different versions sweet or spicy with fruits and nuts, a “wet” trail mix if you will. My favorite combo is: pitted dates, chopped figs, chopped, sesame seeds, ground or fresh ginger and a splash (optional) of red wine. Coconut is nice too (optional).
- Gefilte Fish- ground poached fish. This is a modern interpretation and so delicious
- Desserts- we can take a vote in the comments section but most Passover desserts go into the “not worth it” category with the exception of macaroons. Try Danny's Macaroons, they're made in NYC, gluten free and the salted caramel variety will rival any Easter Bunny (not trying to spark any sort of conflict).
There is a huge spectrum of religiousness and how Passover is observed. Without getting too deep the food rules for Passover involve refraining from anything containing barley, wheat, rye and oats, specifically no leavening is allowed. Does this sound familiar? Um to those who are gluten free there’s a huge overlap.
NRP (Non Religious Passover): want to show some solidarity to your Jewish friends? For one week starting Friday skip bread, pasta, cakes and cookies made from wheat. Most people eat too much wheat and even whole-wheat matzoh isn’t worth it nutritionally. A wheat free week, c’mon…or simply try one of the recipes.
Are there other holidays with dietary restrictions I may not know about? Do you celebrate Passover? What are your favorite recipes? Up for NRP?