Expanding the Passover Table
Posted by Miriyummy
When you have a blended family the holidays can either be full of happy noise as your ever-growing family fills the house, or it can be sadly quiet as it’s the other parents’ turn to surround themselves with the children. Ju-Boy and I have experienced both situations, and we can assuredly say that it’s so much more enjoyable when the table expands to accommodate children, grandchildren and friends.
When Ju-Boy and I married we each brought a table to the table (so to speak). His dining room table could fit 12 easily. My table could fit 10, 12 at a squeeze (but with family, what’s a little squeeze here and there?). We ended up donating his table and keeping mine since it was in better condition. But with two parental units, eight children, three children-in-law, two grandchildren, well, even a little family squeeze can become uncomfortably tight. And once you open the door to let in Eliyahu (the prophet Elijah), well, he would have to drink his wine standing up.
Last year we were just 10 around the Pesach table — Ju-Boy and myself, Tinky and Didi and one of our favorite families, the Irish/Aussie blend which gave inspiration to my Famous Seamus Brownies and my Luscious Lambies. There was just enough room at the table, but just. The turkey that Ju-Boy roasted took up a good percentage of space, and the bottles of wine just kept piling up. By the time we finished eating and were ready to sing Who Knows One and Chad Gadya some of us had already migrated to the sofa. For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s a similar feeling. You have to move away from the food and give your body a chance to digest in peace (unbuckling your belt is optional but advisable).
After the Passover holiday was over Ju-boy and I went hunting for a new table, one that could accommodate our ever-enlarging family. We did so much research we each could have come out with a Ph.D. in dining room furniture. In the end we bought a table that when fully expanded will fit 18 comfortably, and 20 at a crunch. Eliyahu Hanavi can even bring a friend this year. And this year we plan to utilize every table leaf. We have almost all of our children with us. Sassy and Sabraman have elected to spend the Seder night with his Yemenite grandparents, but pretty much everyone else will be there. Even our Irish/Aussie friends are coming (we had such a good time with them last year we decided to make it a tradition). And Brave-Boy makes his Ma Nishtana singing debut this year as well!
But in order to have a successful Seder you have to invest a lot of yourself into the preparation. Cleaning for Passover, the original spring cleaning, is something you cannot gloss over. Many of us have asked why we celebrate the holiday of freedom from slavery by becoming slaves to our own homes? Perhaps the Powers-That-Be figured that we need to feel the slavery so we can appreciate the freedom? Perhaps the Power-That-Be were men who sat and learned in the yeshiva while their wives were the ones at home experiencing the slavery-to-freedom experience? The cabinets have to be re-lined and stocked, the floors have to be shined to a mirrored gloss and even the oven is scrubbed to within an inch of its life (and even past that, how many times have a shorted out the entire house by over-zealously cleaning the oven? Raise your hand if you’ve done this as well!) Israeli supermarkets have started their cleaning supplies price war, and I’ve already started stressing… until this morning. When I opened up my email inbox I found the latest video from the Ein Prat Fountainheads — Breakin’ Free. I figure that if I play this song in the background a few times (or a few hundred times) while cleaning and cooking, the hours will just breeze by (one can only hope…).
My favorite part is at the end, when the house and table slowly fills up with family and friends.
The days (or weeks) before Passover, when you are busy preparing your house for the holiday, is marked by several characteristics. You want to get rid of all the flour you have in the house, you want food that is easy to prepare and you want snacks that will give you energy to keep going until you collapse into your first glass of wine at the Seder (how I LOVE that first glass of wine!). These cookies tick off all the boxes, they are easy to make, use up all your flour and keep you whistling while you work. As a special Pesach tie-in, I got the recipe from my favorite Seder guest (sorry Seamus, it’s not you, it’s your mom).
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened)
- 125 grams margarine (5 ounces)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or golden syrup, or honey)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1 egg
- Mix the flour, sugar, oats and coconut in a bowl. Make a hole in the center.
- Melt the margarine with the maple syrup.
- While that’s melting, mix the baking soda with the boiling water.
- Add the baking soda/water mixture to the margarine/maple syrup mixture. Mix well.
- Pour this into the hole in the dry ingredient mix. Mix well.
- Add the egg, mix well.
- Form into cookies (1 tablespoon per cookie) and place on a greased baking sheet (I use parchment paper).
- Bake at 180 degrees C until the cookies are golden, around 20 minutes or so.
About MiriyummyAll I want to do is live happily ever after.
Posted on 27 March 2012, in Celebrations, Cookies, Family Life, Holiday cooking, Passover and tagged Chad Gadya, cleaning, dining room, dining room table, Elijah, family, family squeeze, Food, Fountainheads, Ma Nishtana, Passover, passover holiday, Passover Seder, prophet elijah, Seder, Who Knows One. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.