Parzen Family Passover

Seder plate.

Wow, what a trip to celebrate the Passover and read the story of the Exodus and think about all the folks who are fighting for their freedom in the Middle East???!!!

Gefilte fish from Ziggy’s in Houston.

Tracie P and I had eight persons at our dining room table for a seder, which I led using this haggadah posted for all to use by the Jewish Federations of North America.

I roasted a leg of lamb for the main course.

Mama Judy taught me how to make her matzoh balls and her charoset. And I made my own horseradish sauce to serve with the gefilte fish and the lamb.

We drank three orphaned bottles from the Hippie Six-Pack — a gently sparkling Cortese and a still Barbera by Valli Unite and Tony Coturri’s Sandocino.

The Barbera by Valli Unite is one of the best wines I’ve tasted in 2011 and it is simply SINGING right now. Cannot drink enough of it. All of the wines were made using native, ambient yeasts… definitely not kosher for Passover (and we obviously don’t keep a kosher kitchen) but it was interesting to contemplate the role of yeast in the religion of Natural wine and Passover. If humankind’s use of yeast is the rational distortion of nature (as Lévi-Strauss interpreted it), Passover is the festival that removes yeast from our lives, instructing us to banish yeast from our homes. A rational distortion of a rational distortion? Of course, the Passover seder could not be complete or completed without wine. And so yeast is inevitably and invariably part of the ritual. (The best source for kosher for Passover wines, btw imho, is our favorite wine writer and one of our favorite people in the world, Alice Feiring.)

Three generations sat at our dining room table for our first Passover seder. As I led the seder and read the words, “It is because of what G-d did for me when I came out of Egypt,” I thought about the generation of my family who fled Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century, before the Russian revolution, to make a better life for their children in the U.S. For all the headaches and troubles we deal with on a day-to-day basis, we sure have a good life and we sure are lucky to have each other.

Hag sameach, ya’ll!

2 thoughts on “Parzen Family Passover

  1. Hi Jeremy,
    A very touching and informative posting! I wonder about wine and Passover…are kosher wines fully devoid of yeast? How does fermentation work? This is one area of winemaking that I have not given much thought to, not being Jewish and all (actually, being fully free of religion, one and all). Can you explain for us the non-faithful?

    • Hey Claudia! So great to see you here! All wine — kosher and otherwise — is made using yeast. To be kosher, the wine must be grown and picked by Jews and the vinification must be overseen by a religious authority. And of course, all the ingredients used in vinification have to be kosher (for example, egg whites for fining or clarifying the wine). In my view, it’s paradox: we (are instructed to) banish all foods made with yeast from our homes for the Passover (well, I’m not observant and so do not) and then we use wine, which by definition must be made using yeast, as part of the ritual. Most kosher wine sold in this country is mevushal, flash-pasteurized so that I can be served to Jews by Gentiles. The Wiki entry for kosher wine is a good one: Alice’s blog is a great resource for info on kosher wines Thanks for the comment!

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