This Pesach was the first one where I had my own kitchen to kosher for Pesach. It's also the first time I've held my own seder and, of course, the first time I've had the opportunity to perform birkat hachama.
I started planning Pesach a couple of weeks ago. We decided to hold our own seder. Previous years we've visited the families of friends for seder. This year we didn't want to have to travel. I also feel guilty imposing a vegan on people during Pesach, not an easy catering prospect. We invited our friend Alice to join us. I made two visits to London to obtain kosher l'Pesach food and haggadot. Pesach cleaning began on Sunday and took most of Monday. Monday evening we went to Tesco and bought things we needed that couldn't be koshered, such as roasting trays and crockery. Tuesday involved koshering and covering the kitchen in tin foil. Tuesday evening Alec rather enjoyed hiding bits of chametz in our bedroom for me to find. He was so sneeky in his hiding that we had to play 'hotter colder' to find them.
Wednesday morning represented the once in a 28 year chance to do Birchat HaChama
. Sunrise was at 6:20 so I invited my friends to join me on Castle Hill at 6am to be able to perform it as the sun edged over the horizon. frankthebarmaid
and her boyfriend bravely showed up but, having waited half an hour nearly getting blown off the hill, we decided that it was far too cloudy to be able to see the sun, so we went back to frankthebarmaid
's room for a chametzy breakfast. At about 7:30 we noticed out of a West facing window that it looked quite sunny out, so we went into frankthebarmaid
's East facing bedroom to say the blessing. On the way home I bought some vegetables for the seder and got home to find Alec still in the shower. I finished the koshering then popped out for some more seder supplies, then came home, eat lunch at 11am (I'd been awake since 5:10) and had a schluff. I woke up in early afternoon and started cooking for the seder. In case you didn't believe a vegan seder were possible here's the menu:
Starter: Salad and crudités with kosher l'Pesach Yarden dips
Soup: Potato and asparagus soup
Main: Roast vegetables, broccoli and home made ratatouille
Dessert: Baked apples
As always, even with a whole afternoon to cook we were still running around prepping when Alice arrived at 7. But we had it reasonably under control by candle lighting. We had a relatively traditional seder. 'Hippy shit' was confined to having a Mirium's cup which was filled at the start of the seder and vegan swaps on the seder plate. We had a beetroot instead of a shank bone and lentils instead of a baked egg. My reasoning for the lentils was that the egg has lots of symbolic meanings. It represents Spring and new life, and lentils are seeds so can also represent new life. Eggs are also a mourning food, which represents our mourning at the lose of the Temple, and so are lentils. We had Palwin for the first cup but Alec nearly retched at the taste, so for the other four cups we used a bottle of kosher Prosecco left over from the wedding. The downside of this was that downing sparkling wine made me burp rather a lot. We read most of the seder in English as none of us are incredibly good at Hebrew. We sung the bits that we could manage to remember the tune to. We adopted the Persian tradition of attacking each other with spring onions during Dayenu. Alec was quite vicious with his. I think that next year I'll get a haggada with transliteration for Alec as he was a bit left out during the Hebrew singing. In preparation for being a proper yiddishe mama I hugely over catered and when we found the afikomen (which Alec had expertly hidden) Alice was so full that she just about managed to eat her bit. I'd forgotten how long the bit after the meal is, but we managed it to allow Alice to escape at about midnight.
I managed to make it to shul the next morning and being one of the first few people there I got to open the ark.