Embrace the Passover Menu: A Recipe for Enjoying Passover Foods

“I hate Passover food! There’s never anything good to eat on Passover, just matzah, matzah, matzah…”

That’s what I used to think and I dreaded the holiday as a result. But over time I’ve learned to enjoy the Passover menu, given a little mental and food prep.

At the root of it, Passover is a wonderful holiday where we remember the great exodus and redemption of the Jewish People from slavery in Egypt. As everyone knows, in order to mark the event, Jews are obligated to symbolically emulate the struggle of the Israelites’ rushed departure from Egypt by giving up all leavened foods for the duration of the holiday. This is no easy task and going into Passover without the right expectations or preparation is a recipe for disappointment, as it was for me for years.

But just because we can’t eat a lot of the foods we normally eat, we aren’t obligated to suffer or starve! Far from it! After all, Passover is a joyous holiday and simply takes a little more time and planning to enjoy. Passover eating is about changing expectations and creating a new, special menu for the week. With a little prep work, your Passover doesn’t have to be about eating tons of matzah. Passover can be a real feastival.

Most importantly, be ready to take a break from hametz for a few days, including breakfast cereal and pasta. Don’t try to pass off kosher for Passover pastas or cereals made from matzah meal. These impostors are usually a terrible let down. So be prepared to give up sandwiches, most cookies, rice (unless it’s your custom, of course), and whiskey for a week.

Embrace the lot of special and delicious Passover foods we eat that we don’t normally enjoy during the rest of the year. No, I don't mean matzah. Charoset, for example, is a favorite of mine and I like to eat it throughout the holiday. We also eat lots of egg dishes, meals of chicken or beef, potatoes and other vegetables, salads, fruit, dairy, matzah balls, matzah brie, matzah pizza, and yes, even delicious desserts! With a little bit of planning and preparation, your Passover can be delicious.

The key is to plan things out a bit so you're not stuck with some jarred gefilte fish and dry matzah. Do this and you too will start to love the Passover menu.

Hate macaroons from a can? We can do better! To help you on your way to a tastier Passover, here’s a very easy a macaroon recipe plucked from the LA Times a few years back:

 

CELESTINO’S MACAROONS

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon Passover potato starch

4 egg whites

1 cup coarsely ground toasted hazelnuts

  • Blend sugar and potato starch in food processor until powdery. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir in sugar mixture, little at a time, then stir in hazelnuts.
  • Cook mixture over low heat, mixing with wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan. Remove pan from heat and cool 10 minutes.
  • Drop hazelnut mixture in 1-tablespoon mounds onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, leaving about 1 inch between cookies. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 20 minutes.

Makes 4 dozen cookies. Each cookie contains about: 30 calories; 4 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 5 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.07 gram fiber.


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