A Witch Does Passover – 2016, part 2

It’s about 10:30AM the next day, and I’m still recovering from the post-seder food coma.

The seder this year went faster than any I’ve done in recent memory. We were starting on the initial seder foods (matzoh, horseradish, Hillel’s sandwich, hard-boiled egg) by 9:30PM. Normally we don’t get to them until about 10:30 or so. Are my seders somehow becoming “efficient”? Ugh. The point of a seder is to take time discussing things!

Even while traversing the haggadah at apparently break-neck speed, we still took the opportunity for interesting conversation. The highlight was a comparison between the character development in “The Ten Commandments” versus “Prince of Egypt.” We also used finger puppets to represent the ten plagues for the first time. This gave everyone a chance to act out their plagues as they read them. This worked so well that I think we’re going to stick with the puppets for future seders.

For me, the embarrassing moment of the evening was when I spilled piping-hot chicken soup on Carolyn’s leg. Party tip: Don’t scald the leg of the hostess! Carolyn was also a trouper, reading through the transliterated Hebrew phrases when lighting the seder candles for her first time. In future years we’ll get her to smoothly pronounce “v’tsivanu.”

My usual food notes:

– All the work I did with the dill sauce for the vegetables was wasted. The vegetables tasted fine, but I couldn’t taste any dill. All I could taste was the “Holland-style” liquid that was used to preserve the pearl onions in the jar. It tasted fine, but there’s no point in trying to make a sauce or roux if it doesn’t add anything. So unless I find a source of peeled pearl onions that’s not in a jar, I won’t bother with any special vegetable spices in the future.

– I made less potato latke batter this year, which gave me only 24 pancakes (23 after I dropped one on the floor). That turned out to be enough for six people; there was so much food that folks only put a couple of latkes on their plates. I have to remember: I make enough room to feed a regiment; I don’t have to go to excess!

– Every apple kugel recipe I’ve seen so far involves separating the eggs, beating the eggs whites until they have stiff peaks, then folding into the apple + cake meal + egg yolk batter. This sounds nice, but I have to prepare the batter the day before and refrigerate it. By the time I get around to baking the kugel, the egg whites have separated and collapsed. The kugel tasted fine, so why go to the trouble of beating egg whites when it’s not going to add texture to the dish? Someday I hope to find an apple kugel recipe that’s not as ambitious.

– My inefficiency as a cook is beginning to show. In past seders, I arrive at someone’s home at 4PM, do the final food prep (chop vegetables for the soup, make matzoh balls, etc.), and still have time to take a 30-minute break before the guests arrive. Not this time. I had a chance to sit for maybe five minutes. I’m beginning to feel like a real Jewish housewife!

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