The fifth Passover question in our house could be something like, “Why on this night do we eat like Ashkenazi Jews when on all other nights we eat like Sephardic Jews? Of course, the answer would be: “On this Passover night we will eat like Sephardi as we prefer to do on other nights even if our family will never speak to us again”.
For those of you who are planning a Passover meal and, perhaps, aren’t Jewish, this is what I am talking about.
You see, it’s all about where we Jews came from – our family’s direct heritage – that traditionally determines the Passover menu that is prepared for your family and loved ones. These are the recipes that everyone expects, and are emotionally attached to, as they undoubtedly have been passed down from someone’s Great Aunt…blah blah blah….
It will surprise none of you, dear readers, when I pose the question: must we be such slaves to tradition?
Ashkenazi Jews (I am one), who harken back from Western Europe eat a Polish Russian influenced meal featuring dishes like Chopped Liver, Kugel and Matzoh ball soup. Sephardic Jews, however, who trace heritage back to Middle Eastern countries as well as Spain, Portugal and North Africa eat a meal of sensual, aromatic and colorful dishes such as Lamb with Apricots or Chickpea Salad with Olives.
This year, our Seder is going to have a twist. Why should this night be different than other nights?? Multiculti defines our household. We’ll keep the spices, layered flavors of the Sephardi and give up the wheat to proclaim solidarity with all Jews without being a slave to tradition.
Here are 5 ways that I plan to MIX IT UP this Passover.
1. I will make Charosis (via Floyd Cardoz in Gourmet Magazine)
1.5 cup pitted dates
3/4 c walnuts
1 1.5 cinnamon stick ground
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 Gala apples chopped
1/3c Ruby Port
2. I will substitute Sephardi salmon for Gefilte Fish
3. I will substitute Sephardi Tagine, vegetarian-style, in honor of
my “no-meat-please-it’s-Good-Friday husband,” for the traditional Ashkenazi Brisket.
4. I will serve Persian Jeweled Rice (rice is allowed by Sephardi standards. WIN!)
5. Dessert will boast the fragrance of Iberia with an Orange and Almond Dessert that recently caught my eye.
This year I’m feeling unbound and free with my Passover. Now I ask you, dear reader, how are you going to unchain yourself from tradition at this year’s holiday celebration!? I want to know!
P.S. Tradition or no, I recently found this site from a fellow twitter brethren, and highly recommend a browse…he has inspired me a lot and I am sure that he will, you, too! http://funjoelsisrael.com/