Friday, March 26, 2010

Passover's Coming!

It happens every year. Passover (and the massive amounts of preparation) simply sneaks up on the unsuspecting, demanding that attention be paid to this holiday. Now, I must say that I really do love Passover - 24 of my 25 years of celebrating this holiday have been the same: sitting around the dining room table at my grandparents' house withe friends and family. The one year I didn't make it was when I was studying abroad and I celebrated in London with some very good family friends.

I love celebrating this holiday at my grandparents'. My bubbye (Yiddish for grandmother) deemed this the "kids holiday" a long time ago and it's the one time of year when the kids got to sit close to the head of the table and the adults were banished to the other end of the table. Over the years, some of the faces around the table have changed but most of our family's ritual of Passover has stayed the same. I sit to the left of my zayde (Yiddish for grandfather) and together, the two of us lead the seder (meaning order in Hebrew, the meal where we tell the story of the Jews exodus from Egypt). On the first night, we have brisket, and on the second - turkey. My brother and cousin have a matzah ball eating contest and all of the grandkids have fun looking for the afikomen mid-meal. All of this brings back wonderful memories of food, family, and celebrating my religion.

This year I debated going home for the holiday since my office won't be closed for it. Nevertheless, I will once again be flying home (American Airlines: if you want to sponsor one of my many trips to Dallas, that'd be great) for the holiday, but only staying for the seders. This means that for the first time since college, I've had to plan for keeping Passover here in DC.

In addition to cleaning and prepping my apartment for the holiday, I've been giving some serious thought to my menu for the week. Most people assume that since I'm gluten free, keeping Passover is a breeze. Wrong! A majority of my diet involves rice, buckwheat, legumes of many varieties, and PB, all of which are not consumed on Passover. Matzah, matzah balls, etc. all have gluten, so it's kind of like going carb free for 8 days. My approach to food on the holiday has evolved over time and most drastically in the last few years as my regular eating habits have changed as well.

I want to share with you some of the recipes and foods that I plan on eating during Passover this year. Lucky for me, only 20% or so of my diet has to be altered for this 8-day holiday. I love vegetables, fruits, and nuts; all of which are kosher for Passover (except peanuts...) and make up a majority of my diet. A lot of the Passover are highly processed but some are less-so and even gluten free! I am excited to pick up a few goodies to keep on hand for the year. If you are gluten free, check the kosher for Passover (K for P) section of your store for gluten free products (all of which will be free of high fructose corn syrup and other corn derivatives!)

I have spent copious amounts of time perusing recipes, blogs, and magazines compiling some exciting meals to eat. I'm looking forward to sharing them all with you throughout the holiday!

I did Part 1 of my Passover shopping, purchasing a few essentials: salad dressing, pickles, sesame candy, and K for P and gluten free pasta shells. Part 2 will take place when I'm back in DC.

For a sneak peak, here is a very rough plan of my shopping list and meals (based on my eating habits and schedule) that I'm looking forward to whipping up!

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