The seder was good this year… but it felt short. There were only four participants, everyone knew the haggadah, and we knew each other’s opinions too well to have much discussion.
In most Jewish households, including those of my friends with Jewish families, the first night of Passover is reserved for family, while the second night’s seder is held with friends. Next year, Erev Pesach will fall on a Monday night again. It was our feeling that if we held it on the first night in 2011, we’d have the same short seder as this year.
Next year, we’re going to try to hold the seder on the second night. Perhaps we’ll get some more people, with different experiences and perspectives to liven up the seder. If we don’t get more people, then I may try a different Haggadah, to see if that will spark a different set of discussions.
Food notes (mostly for myself):
– 30 minutes is plenty of time to bake pearl onions. Next year, consider finding some kosher-for-passover sauce recipe for the onions that’s easy to prepare.
– I left out full-size baked onions, eggplant, and roasted garlic, because I knew we wouldn’t have many people there. There were still plenty of leftovers. I’m not going to re-introduce them into my seder meal unless we have vegetarians or vegans present.
– The apple kugel turned out fine… considering that the egg whites I whipped the night before "un-whipped" by the time I cooked them. Consider leaving the egg whites separate and whipping them just before I bake the dish.
– The chicken soup with matzoh balls was great, but not everyone likes the extra veggie bits I put in as much as I do. Tone that down. Make more matzoh balls next time, at least enough to fill a one-quart container.
– I don’t need both potato kugel and baked potatoes. Stick with the kugel; folks have baked potatoes all the time.
Bear in mind that these are just the negatives. The positive far outweighed them; it was a grand evening. It’s just that I’m always looking for ways to improve.