I am not turning over my house for Passover this year. (Here’s what I did in 2008 and 2009.) I’ve been thinking about taking this year off for a while, and my decision was reinforced when we dealt with a 4-day power failure a month ago. I had to toss everything in my fridge, and while it was empty it seemed appropriate to do a deep cleaning. It felt like Passover — the cleaning part beforehand at least — had come early.
I have never been good at explaining the “why” of the choices I make for my kitchen to my boys. The why, to me, is often “because that’s how my mom did it” and that’s not a very satisfying answer to a little kid. It’s not satisfying to me when I say it out loud either, though I guess that is the very definition of tradition. I label my kitchen kosher-style, but over the past year or so I have become a lot more lenient in what that means. Without the personal conviction that I’m keeping this set of rules because of my own religious beliefs, it has been harder and harder for me to see a reason to keep shredded mozzarella off the table when I am serving meatballs. The boys don’t eat the meatballs anyway, so there’s no actual mixing of meat and cheese going on — they just want some cheese on their pasta. And I could not care less if you want butter on your baked potato while eating a steak. I still don’t combine meat and milk in the same dish when I cook, but this is more a lifelong habit than anything else.
This relaxing of my overall nod to kashrut has definitely colored my feeling about keeping Passover, and the work involved in doing so in my home. So, 2010 is a trial year. As we get closer to the start of the holiday, I am feeling a little left out of that small club of people that completely turn over their kitchens. I am, however, really looking forward to making a great dinner for my parents on Sunday. They will be in the jaws of that no man’s land of no more chometz in the house, but the holiday hasn’t started yet — what do you eat? I’m glad we’ll be able to feed them! Then on Monday I’m looking forward to cooking for the first seder with my family at my parent’s house. The Pesadich dishes, silverware, and pots I grew up using for just 8 days out of the year are touchstones that bring the holiday home for me.
Still looking for Passover recipes? Here’s a roundup I put together last year: Passover Recipes, Past and Future. I’m going to be making a version of the Beet, Orange, & Arugula Salad pictured above, using my newly-learned knife skills to supreme the orange.