A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on a bench in Rittenhouse Square, eating a bagel and reading a book, when my cell phone rang. It was my mom’s cousin Angie, and she was calling to invite me to dinner on the second night of Passover. She traditionally has the family Seder on the second night, but this year she was going for something a little lower key. I said I’d love to come and made sure I wrote it down in my calendar (yes, I still use a paper calendar and write everything in it in pencil, it makes me happy).
Well, low key it was (which is kind of sad, it’s the first time in my life when I would have been the youngest in the room, and thus the automatic winner of the afikomen prize). I headed down to her apartment tonight (about a year ago she bought my aunt Flora’s old apartment on the 9th floor of my building. My family, we like it here) a little after I got home from work. My cousin Dan was sitting on the couch, talking to Angie and Donald. Dan’s wife Sabrina showed up fairly soon after I did. The table was set, and held a few representations of Passover, but not the whole plate. There were hardboiled eggs and whole wheat matzo (which I never actually got any of). Donald stood by the table, and summarized the Haggadah in under 30 seconds, and deemed the religious portion of the evening complete. We sat and ate matzo ball soup (which really is all I need to feel like it’s Passover). Next was a green salad, which Angie called “parsley” for the sake of tradition. Then there was turkey, roasted potatoes, steamed green beans and a big honey baked ham.
This is the point at which I feel it’s necessary to pause and repeat. A ham. On this faux Passover table. Don’t get me wrong, it was a really good ham (I had several pieces, which is unusual for me, as eating ham typically brings on a good case of guilt for me. It’s how I know my Jewish half isn’t totally dormant). The larger problem with the ham is that the remaining half in now in my refrigerator. Dan didn’t want to take it home, and Donald doesn’t like frozen meats. He started to make noises about throwing it out, which I couldn’t deal with (I can’t stand to waste food) so I said I would take it. I really wish there was a way I could get it to my dad, as he is the original lover of ham, but Portland is a long way from here.
So, to recap, my Passover Seder this year consisted of fake parsley, a 30 second Haggadah, a honey baked ham and family. All in all, not a bad way to celebrate the holiday.
Yum! Ham! Maybe you could freeze some and bring it to the airport on May 22 and I’ll take it home. (Yum!) Or not.
How about bringing the rest to Seth’s Easter BBQ on Sunday?
Wow – ham at a Seder. Not unlike the St Pat’s day at the Caf I was doling out the green deserts – AND the last of the orange sherbert.
But I’m with you in that the spirit/community of the feast goes beyond the particulars. Am glad yours had plenty of that.
Dad, I’m not sure that ham should travel cross country in an overhead compartment, but I’ll see what I can do. Although now that I think about it, it’s a preservative technique, so as long as the people around you could handle the smell, it would probably be fine.
Ellen, I’ll probably bring most of it to Seth’s bbq, that seems like a fairly smart plan.
I completely understand. I’m also half jewish. One of our family jokes is my waspy aunt’s gift of a honey baked ham to our annual seder. She’s been doing it for years. No one knows if she’s just oblivious or if she’s a complete $%#$#. Either way, it sure is tasty.
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