Tonight's the start of Pesach or Passover. So, Happy Passover!Chag Pesach Sameach! (It's also the year 5775 on the Jewish calendar. Hence, it being in the title...) Hope others who celebrate it have a good one.It's just going to be Dad and I for our seder tonight. Sometimes having just family is nice, too. Having guests is great, but gives off a different 'feel'.
This is my wallpaper for April. It features Happy from Fairy Tail. Haven't used a Fairy Tail-themed wallpaper in a long time. Probably went a bit overboard with Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler ones.Thought this one was cute and simple. I like Happy. He sometimes seems to have more sense than the rest of the characters. Since he's a cat, he's always thinking about fish. Well, technically he's an Exceed. They talk, fly, hatch from eggs, come from a different dimension, etc.
My Paris calendar features the river Seine. It flows through the heart of Paris, and is the chief commercial waterway. Half of the water used in Paris still comes from the Seine. There's also a pic of the Eiffel tower, and a couple with a dog in between them on a bench. The main pic is of an elderly couple holding hands walking through a tunnel along the Seine with a cathedral in the background.
My Jewish calendar's main pic's of a seder plate, made out of ceramic and enamel, France; 1850. A seder (lit. 'order') is a ritual dinner that's full of symbolism and tells the story behind Passover, in a certain 'order'.
The seder plate holds most of the main symbolic foods. One of them being maror ('bitter herbs') or horseradish, it represents the harshness of being slaves. The charoset's another. Depending on where your family came from this can vary with what's in it quite a bit. It symbolizes mortar and brick. My family uses an apple, walnut, grape juice (usually wine, but I can't have wine because of my meds), and a touch of cinnamon mixture. Another's karpas or a vegetable that's dipped in salt water. It's usually parsley. It symbolizes tears. Zeroah or a roasted lamb shankbone, symbolizes the Pesach or Passover sacrifice which was a lamb. Vegetarians use beets or a sweet potato. Beitzah or roasted egg. This represents mourning, and can represent spring as well. Like the shankbone, we don't eat the roasted egg. Many people eat hard boiled eggs dipped in salt water during the first course of the meal, instead. Not everyone puts out Hazeret, which is a second 'bitter herb' for the matzah sandwich part. It's usually lettuce. (Part of the vegetable is bitter.) I feel odd about this one, because I don't think we actually go over this 'extra' one during the seder. (I don't think I've ever seen it written down to have it in the matzah sandwich.) Many people add an orange to the plate. It represents inclusion. Specifically inclusion of the LGBT communities, women, and other people who feel 'left out' or like they don't belong. Matzah is another symbolic food, but it's usually in its own clothed bag off to the side.
Anyways, this one is very intricate and cool. In addition to the placeholders for everything, they list out the many parts of the seder along the edge of the plate. They're both in Hebrew and French. There's a lamb just above the placeholders in the middle. It looks like it's in really good condition, especially considering how old it is. The 2nd pic's of an Elijah's cup, has an unknown maker, and made of glass. They don't mention where it's from or the year. Maybe it's from the same time and place? Another part of the seder is a cup filled with wine that's set aside for the prophet Elijah. Some, like us, set aside a cup full of water to honor Miriam, too. This cup is really pretty. The last pic's of another seder plate, has an anonymous maker, made out of porcelain and enamel; 1900-1925. This one's pretty plain. It has place markers for each 'symbol' and 1 tree each for 2 sides of it. Not as impressive looking...Mom made our seder plate. (Although, she just technically painted it. Still looks cool.) It feels even more special that way.
The month-long holidays are: National Garlic Month, National Grilled Cheese Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, Arab American Heritage Month, Frog Month, International Guitar Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, National Garden Month, National Kite Month, National Pecan Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. I love garlic, grilled cheese sandwiches, soft pretzels, and pecans. So, it's definitely my kind of food month. We definitely should celebrate all the different types of Americans out there. Most of us have family backgrounds that come from all around the world. (I think that makes people uniquely 'American' this way. Even Native Americans may have a mix of others in their backgrounds.) I don't think Arab Americans get very much recognition most of the time, so this is cool. Frogs are cool animals. Some seem so delicate, but can be deadly. The guitar and all its variations should definitely be celebrated. Jazz is awesome, too! If you can keep it up, gardens can be amazing. It would make sense to fly kites during this month. Although, it might be better in mid-spring to mid-summer.
Yesterday, I spent 6 hours cooking for Pesach.I made the charoset, popovers, granola, hard-boiled eggs, roasted egg (or beitzah), and chocolate cake with walnuts. A friend came over to help with the dishes. I think she was expecting things to cook quickly. She left a bit early, but was a great help. I still need to make the matzo ball soup, and throw together a salad. That's not too bad. They're kind of better fresh anyways.I'm thinking of chopping up some carrots and celery, and putting them into the soup. With the salad, I'm thinking of using mixed greens, craisins (dried cranberries), maybe some walnuts, and maybe some carrots. We got some kosher for Pesach balsamic Italian dressing, and that sounds like it'll be good with everything. Our main dish is probably going to be a roasted chicken that Jill will get from the store. We were thinking of her Greek lamb and potato thing (from her new Greek cookbook), but decided that there wouldn't be much time and she can do it for Sunday's dinner instead. We'll have gefilte fish like usual. For dessert, we have the cake, chocolate chip coconut macaroons, peppermint patties, and chocolate covered orange peels. We also got some sparkling apple-grape juice that I'll probably use for the 4 cups. It'll feel even more special with that.I'm kind of excited about tonight!Tomorrow's will be at our friends' place. They told us to just bring a salad and popovers. I'll probably make a similar salad for theirs. And, I made a double batch of popovers, so I'll just bring the 2nd batch to theirs as well. (I'm going to cut this post a bit short, and next time I'll go over the rest of the stuff that's happened...)