Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Seder

Well, for us, anyway, and it was both interesting and delicious. We’re fortunate enough to have been invited to celebrate with friends in Boston - the male half of the couple is Jewish and has gotten into the habit of hosting a seder dinner each year for family and friends. It just so happened that our visit coincided with Passover this year. We’d never attended a seder, having been raised Catholic, and we both found it to be an open and welcoming ceremony, thought-provoking and uplifting. Also, the food was fantastic.

J and D had done a dry run of their main course the previous weekend, a roast lamb shoulder with sour cherry sauce. They had decided against making the rice-based stuffing again, since it hadn’t thrilled either of them, and instead opted for sautéed potatoes with butter, lemon and parsley. It turned out to be a very good call – they were delicious, and I say that not just because I ended up doing the sautéing! They complemented the rich, earthy lamb and tart sauce beautifully. Before the main course, there was reading and singing from the Haggadah, a sort of guidebook that tells the story of Passover (with convenient prompts for gentiles, such as “check the soup now”, “go and open the door for Elijah”, and so on). J and D thoughtfully served salads during the readings, one of grated carrot with an orange juice and parsley dressing, another of mixed greens with dijon-white balsamic vinaigrette (I also made the vinaigrette, because I like to help). This kept us all from getting grumpy, because the lamb smelled so darned good.

Desserts were amazing, and all wheat and leavening-free (Passover is celebrated by abstaining from all leavened breads, hence the cracker-like matzoh): coconut macaroons dipped in dark chocolate, and a mind-blowing matzoh sponge cake topped with lemon curd and fresh raspberries. You’ve never tasted spring until you’ve tasted this. Seriously.

All in all, a wonderful and tasty meal, which tasted even better to us because it was shared with friends we don’t often see as well as with new and friendly people who welcomed the “furriners” warmly. Thanks, guys. It was a great day.

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