My family, like many Jewish families, has some cherished Passover food traditions. Pictured here is one of them. Every year for seder, we make this gorgeous Jewish Italian dish called scacchi. Think of it as a vegetable lasagna without tomato sauce and with layers of matzah instead of the noodles. Since my wife and I are tragically without any Italian heritage of our own, we follow the recipe in Joan Nathan's Jewish Cooking in America (p. 402). Both the dish and the book are amazing.
Do you follow the tradition of removing all the chametz (leavened grain products) from your home for the duration of the holiday? Do you perform the ritual of symbolically selling your chametz to a non-Jew? Do you prohibit kitniyot (rice, corn, beans, peas and lentils) during the holiday? Do you insist on using hand-made shmurah matzah on your seder table or do you settle for the square-shaped, machine-made variety? Do you forgo tap water during Passover and drink only bottled water bearing a symbol attesting it to be "Kosher for Passover"?
Chances are, you think that at least some people who have different answers than you to these questions are either assimilationists, heretics, religious extremists, or insane. Possibly, you think they are all four.
I think that is the way things are supposed to be. Passover is a holiday that—at its core—is supposed to get us to think deeply about what we eat and even what foods we allow into our homes. Regardless of your particular practice, if you are engaged in any practice that gets you to make choices about your food, you are engaged in a festival that celebrates both the freedom to choose and the obligations that accompany all freedoms.
Have a wonderful, joyful Passover. May the foods we eat, and the choices we make about the foods we don't eat, be a blessing to us all.
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Matzah and Chameitz
One Seder or Two?