Beautifying your Pesach Table

Spring Greens Saute from The Jewish Seasonal Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman

Spring Greens Saute from The Jewish Seasonal Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman

By today, you’ve probably decided what you are making for your first Passover meal tomorrow night. Patti and I will be making Stuffed Cabbage, with the recipe posted last year at this time. I’m about to go make some, and if you come to the AARC Family Seder on Sunday, you’ll get to have a taste!

But there is a long week ahead of Pesach food restrictions, and I want to share with you a stand out cookbook that could make your week more culinarily delightful: The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Tradition by Amelia Saltsman. With a Romanian grandmother and an Iraqi grandmother, growing up in a farming community in Israel and her extensive writings on local and fair food production, family farms, and farmers’ markets, she is an author whose interests are close to my heart. You can access some recipes and read more about her on her website and blog.

I’ve often thought about the contradiction between the limits on foods we can eat on Passover, the necessity of sticking to the dry “bread of affliction” for a full week, and our communal focus on the Passover feast, creating ever more scrumptious Pesach foods. Rabbi Yael Levy’s “Thoughts on Matzah” post from her Jewish Mindfulness site helped me come to a satisfying understanding of this.

Thoughts On Matzah

Rabbi Yael Levy | 4-20-2016

When we begin the Seder, the matzah is lechem oni—the bread of affliction.

By the middle of the seder the matzah has become the afikomen—the dessert—what we seek, what we long for.

The transformation starts as we lift up the three matzot, break the middle matzah and call, “This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.  Let all who are hungry come and eat.”

As we acknowledge the suffering and brokenness that exists in us and in our world and reach out from this place to make connections, to share who we are and what we have to offer the matzah goes from being the bread of poverty to being the bread of connection, hope and faith.