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The Unnatural Cook

a chronicle of weekly meal plans from someone who can't just throw a meal together

Why is this night different than all other nights? Because I forgot to photograph the meal! It had nothing to do with the food itself (which was extraordinary) and everything to do with the four ritual cups of wine and my general enjoyment of celebrating Passover in a barn in Vermont with a spectacular clan of folks.

Passover is the beautiful tradition, thousands of years old, of passing Jewish history and religion down to the next generation. It is a celebration of family and of food and of storytelling. I have always tended toward the food myself, anxiously awaiting the arrival of page 61 in the Haggadah where it states “dinner is served.” But this year I got so caught up in the seder itself, I neglected my Unnatural Cook duties and have not one picture of the meal: Maztoh Ball Soup, Smoked Salmon w/beet & mache salad, Roasted Lamb, Potatoes with Olives & Fennel, Roasted Asparagus. My deepest apologies to the Kaplan chefs who fed us all so divinely!

During the seder the youngest child is required to recite the four questions which ask, why is this night different than all other nights? The answers, (because on this night we eat only matzoh, eat bitter herbs, dip our vegetables in salt water and recline at the table) are typically obscure, relating to the finer points of the rituals observed at Passover, and have always been slightly unsatisfactory to me. This night is different from all other nights because we take it up on ourselves to hold a service in our own homes which reminds us of the blessing of our own freedom and the hope that all people, everywhere might enjoy that same blessing some day.


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