Pesach is over and I survived 🙂
Actually I like Pesach and I don’t mind eating chametz-free for a week (though I really really enjoy the first pizza after Pesach). The problem is Pesach in non-Jewish surroundings.
During the year, I eat "semi-kosher". My own kitchen is kosher, but I eat vegetarian outside of my house in non-kosher restaurants and in the (non-kosher) homes of friends and family. Pesach is the only week in the year where I am strict and I eat only my own (kosher) food from my own (kosher) plates. So visiting (non-Jewish) family at this time is a challenge. Unfortunately, they are insisting on an Easter visit so this is my post on how this year’s visit worked out.
First a few words about last year. I wanted to be most inclusive while still eating kosher. So we decided that I would kasher a set of dishes in the kitchen there and we’d use only these dishes to cook for me. Additionally, they would cook other things using the normal non-kosher dishes. Bottom line – not working. As my dishes were indistinguishable from the other dishes, I had to rescue them from the dish-washer several times. Nobody understood why I ate the salad one day (because I made it on my dishes), but not the other day (because somebody else made it with the wrong utensils). They prepared some speciality with lots of additional effort because they couldn’t use the mixer – just to put it into some non-kosher plastic bowl at the very end (hot of course). I just didn’t have the heart to tell them, so I ate it. Which made them happy, but me unhappy. All that was exhausting for me and my hosts. When I came back home I swore to stay home for Pesach from now on.
But, of course, I let myself get talked into going again this year. So this year was going to be different. I decided I would cook in advance and eat only my own food. I got my own space in the kitchen for my stuff, and for every meal brought out my own food on my own dishes, clearly distinct from everyone else’s. I still had to decline offers of chocolate (ingredients: barley malt syrup), yoghurt (with muesli) and cookies (can anything be more clearly chametz??), but on the whole it worked well. For the future, I need to buy plastic plates that are easier to carry and I need to learn how to use a microwave, but this works.
So here is my reminder list for next year:
- Dishes I brought (1 each): tea cup, plate, spoon, tea spoon, fork, knife, sharp knife (to cut vegetables, cheese), big knife (to cut cake), pan (for fried eggs), wooden spoon.
- Dishes I should have brought: glass, cup for wine (kiddush/havdala).
- Food for breakfast/coffee (I like a sweet breakfast): Matzot, left-over charoset, Nutella, chocolate covered matzot, carrot-nut-cake (no flour, lots of eggs).
- Food for lunch/dinner: Matzot, vegetable tarte (made with matzo meal, easy to warm up), hard cheese; I let them buy for me eggs (for fried eggs), tomatoes, avocado and cottage cheese, ice cream.