Monday, April 21, 2008

Second Ceder

It's late on Sunday night...
*YAAAAAAAAWN*
('scuse me! It's the hour, not the company)
... and I've just returned from the second Ceder, which was at my mother's house.

Here you can see the table set with all the extra-special ceder foods, and candles which will be blessed and lit by my grandmother at sunset.



This is the "Ceder Plate", a special plate which exists solely to showcase the five symbolic foods of the evening. The egg and celery (because it's green) represent spring and new life. The chicken wing is a modern take on the traditional lamb shank bone, representing the Paschal lamb. The gnarly root is horseradish, representing the bitterness of being enslaved back in the day. The oatmeal-y stuff in the middle is Charoset, a sweet mixture of grated apple, chopped nuts, cinnamon, and other yummy stuff which varies by recipe (for example my aunt adds banana) which represents the mortar that was used by Jewish slaves when they were building stuff for the pharoah in Egypt. Mmmm, delicious mortar...



We pass around the greens, which can be celery or parsley, depending on your preference, and we dip them in salt water, representing the tears of our ancestors. Mmmm, delicious tears of our miserable ancestors...

I tell you, there was no better moment in the evening than when the blessing had been said over the greens, and nine people in an otherwise silent room all crunched into their celery sticks in unison.



I mentioned in my pre-passover prep post that we run into issues because we have too many different versions of the Haggadah, or Ceder handbook. Here's just a few of the books we were working from tonight:



Happily, the second Ceder went much, much better than the first. Intra-familial snarkiness was kept to a minimum, and generally we were all able to relax and enjoy ourselves.

The best part of the whole day, however, was the three hours from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm when I worked side-by-side with my mom, preparing the food and setting the table. We chopped and we chatted, catching up on life, and of course debriefing on the fiasco of the previous evening. It was good bonding time. I hadn't had one-on-one quality time with my mom since January. It was good to hang out with her.

Now I'm home, stuffed full of food, exhausted, and my fingers are pruned from washing endless dishes, but I'm satisfied. I know I'll sleep well tonight.

20 comments:

R.E.H. said...

That is always the best thing about family dinners - getting the chance to hang out with members of the family...

...a very close second is the food itself, of course!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Glad your second Sedar went better than the first. Ummmm... was pizza delivered at any point in the evening? I mean tradition is nice, but celery, horseradish, and a chicken wing? Ummm... although the apple cinammon thing sounded good. I guess I'm just a horrible pagan.

Nicole said...

Sounds pretty good to me :)
Glad it was better than the previous evening :D
And real quality time with one's Mom is always great :D!

Nilsa S. said...

Sounds like a lovely Seder! My fiance and I managed to go to three this year. An interfaith Seder at the synagogue, one at my boss's on Saturday night and another one at my aunt's on Sunday night. Each one was very different, but wonderful in its own way.

unsigned said...

Singing:

"When Cameron was in Egypt land...

Let my...

Cameron...

Go..."

Leighann said...

I'm glad you have a better time this time around! The time with your mom must have been wonderful!

Claire said...

How fascinating and cool! Thanks for sharing!

Cxx

Karen said...

glad the second one was better...

whatigotsofar said...

It's nice to read a plain English description of religious traditions that aren't Christian. It's a nice change of pace from the obligatory Christmas episode of every TV show.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I'd like to hear that group crunching of the cellery. :-D

Tink said...

I'm so culturally retarded. I'd never even heard of Sedar before reading this post. I love your description of the foods!

Sparkling Red said...

R.E.H.: One thing about my family; the ladies are all excellent cooks! I'm still full from the weekend.

Ron: LOL - Did you think that we only eat what's on the Ceder plate? Not even close! ;-) There is a full feast that follows the ceremony: chicken soup with matzoh balls (dumplings); roasted chicken or turkey with roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, and various other cooked veggies; then more dessert than anyone could possibly be expected to eat after a large meal, but we all find room somehow. Pizza, however, is not traditional at a Ceder. ;-)

Nicole: Yes, it was really great. I'm lucky to have my mom. I wouldn't trade her for anyone. :-)

Nilsa: That's a good variety. :-) The interfaith Ceder sounds interesting. Sometimes I invite a friend who's never been to a Ceder, just to have the fun of experiencing it through their eyes.

Unsigned: Hands off my Dad's car!

Leighann: Yes, she takes good care of me. She even bought special snacks to ensure her baby wouldn't get hunger pangs while we prepared for the dinner. Just what I needed before a big feast: more food! ;-)

Claire: It's my pleasure. :-)

Karen: Me too!

Whatigotsofar: As I read back over my post before I published it, I realized that I had never heard Jewish holidays reported so casually. I guess people feel a requirement to take religious things really seriously. I figure that one can have a sense of humour about the details while still respecting the intention behind it all.

Keera: It was priceless. ;-)

Tink: Thanks! As other holidays come up, I will post more reports. Stay tuned!

San said...

Sounds like this evening was the perfect antidote to the earlier angst.

jameil1922 said...

yay mommy! good times with family are so marvelous. how long is ceder? i hope you'll be explaining more about it as it continues. it's very interesting.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Thank god!! I just imagined how disgruntled I would be at this sedar thing chewing on celery and horseradish and a boiled egg. Phew!!

Jenski said...

I have a new found love of Charoset! That table looks very inviting and I am glad that the second Ceder was a better experience.

Stewie said...

Thanks for the book pics.

I was trying to explain to a friend about the confusion with them, but I was messing it all up.

Now I can show a picture and not look so damn dumb.

Maxie said...

I need to stop reading blogs at night because food pictures make me SO HUNGRY!

Sparkling Red said...

San: It certainly was. :-)

Jameil: Passover goes on for 8 days, but we only do Ceder dinners on the first two nights. Observant Jews continue the holiday by eating a restricted diet and saying special prayers for the rest of the week. However, since Judaism is not my religion, only my culture of origin, I will not be observing any further myself. However, I could write more about the traditions before the 8 days are up. My grandmother would be proud of me!

Ron: Yeah, that would be pretty awful. Although apparently someone in my family did attend a Ceder where the ceremonial foods were the only food served. I can't imagine that. Where's the fun in Passover if you don't get to feast?

Jenski: Charoset is one of my favourite things about Passover. I'm surprised it hasn't been picked up by mainstream culture, like bagels, it's that good.

Stewie: Entertainment and education are my aims! Visual aids are always helpful. It's cool that you were explaining the story to a friend. The whole point of Passover is passing on the story and traditions to those who don't know about them, so you were participating in the tradition even if you might not have been intending to. :-)

Maxie: Just be grateful that I didn't post any photos of the actual feast. I was too busy serving and washing dishes to grab my camera during the meal. And eating, of course. Those plates got emptied as soon as they hit the table.

Aurora said...

Lovely photos. I am so interested in Passover now! I'm fascinated at the eating tears bit. Neat symbolism.