Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Next Year in Cincinnati"

Each year for the last oh so many years we have celebrated Passover with our wonderful friends, Fouad and Mary Ezra. But this year we aren't in Cincinnati for the celebration- we're far, far away from home. I rather thought I might ignore the whole event- nothing seems very real here in San Fran- as if the calender of the year is a bit off kilter (no falling leaves, no snow, no teasing of a spring that waits so very long to finally arrive)- so it's easier here to move from one day to another without so much a thought to season, to rhythm.
But then somehow the time just couldn't be ignored- and finally I decided that we would do a "symbol" of Passover- just to mark the day- and remember.

Further, our friend Linda Wise was here visiting us. Linda always comes to our house for Thanksgiving (at least when we are in Cincinnati). But this year she joined us for a short vacation visit to San Francisco and thus also for Passover.

I decided to cook Matzo Ball soup and Charoses (a mixture of apples, nuts and wine and cinnamon- a reminder of the mortar used by the Jews in the construction of buildings as slaves in Egypt). And of course you have to have Matzo crackers for the Charoses and horseradish.
BUT THERE WERE NO MATZO CRACKERS IN THE WHOLE OF SAN FRANCISCO! Honest- the story even got reported in the New York Times- Now this is big news- Passover in the San Fran- and no Matzo crackers- I couldn't decide from the article if the blame is on the manufacturers back east- or Costco or Trader Joe- But somebody has to be the fall guy in this travesty. So Passover went on without Matzo crackers in the homes (except those willing to drive literally hours away)- But there was the soup.

Max did buy some Matzo flour, something just made for making Matzo balls. So we mixed up the dough and then made the Matzo balls to cook in the soup. Now no one told us that Matzo balls swell up when you cook them, so we made Matzo balls that were about the right size for us to eat. Once cooked in the soup, these Matzo balls turned into Matzo giant balls, more the size of a large eggs. Consequently, we had plenty of Matzo balls in the soup.

But first things first- The surprise was the call from Fouad and Mary from Cincinnati-
So we toasted the day together...

And there was Matzo Ball Soup and Charoses and wine and eggs and bitter herbs....

The ceremony always ends with "Next year in Jerusalem"- that plaintive from the heart for one's homeland. For us we ended with the toast "Next year in Cincinnati!"


PS: Today (4-28-08) we got the most absolutely wonderful surprise when we returned from dinner. Mary sent us Passover cookies- not the bland Manichevitz macaroons that still haven't been eaten- but the real deal.

So we're going to divide them into two containers to make absolutely sure that Don doesn't get more than his share (he actually had eaten one before I had time to remove my jacket!)


Spider63 said...

I used to celebrate Passover with my friends from school. He was Orthodox, we were all just friends of different persuasions. It was very educational, we would all take turns reading from a book (forgot the name), and it was a lot of fun. Especially toasting!! The food was great too, but the memories were the best!!

Lucas said...

Shalom UD and Aunt Max! I'm glad you had a nice celebration even though it was different than you were used to. Too bad you didn't know about the missing Matzo crackers ahead of time. The interenet can bring ANYTHING to your door! But the soup looked great and so do you guys! Loads of love!

Anonymous said...

Shalom! I'm glad that you got the toast with Mary and Foud. love,b