The Prince of Egypt: Passover Seder
After the Passover Seder we do not turn to other entertainment...
So, in this case our movie choice might be an excellent one to put on to entertain the kids while we're making our Seder courses. The Prince of Egypt tells a version of the coming out of Egypt that, if not 100% faithful to the biblical version, is close enough (and compelling enough) to capture the imagination of young and old, alike.
We were slaves in Egypt...
There is a saying among Jews that all our holidays are the same: "We gather together, we pray, we eat!" Passover is the quintessential example. The evening starts with a small service conducted at the dinner table, using ceremonial, symbolic foods, and then moves to a full meal.
Not included in the recipes here, but sometimes served with dinner are steamed veggies and, perhaps, a leafy salad.
I have not provided recipes for desserts for this meal, though I usually serve a fruit salad along with purchased Passover desserts such as chocolate covered macaroons. Frankly, they are as good as anything I can make, are Kosher, and free me to tend to my guests.
The Passover Seder is one of my favorite dinners of the year. Somehow, surrounded with my family I feel as if I am not just at this table, but at the table of all of the ancestors that have come before me. As I look at my children, I am with them, and their children, and countless generations yet to come.
A dinner with meaning...
The requirement of the meal is that that the food must not include leavening. This is to remind us of the haste with which the Hebrews had to flee Egypt, and is the reason we eat Matzoh, or unleavened bread. Three pieces of matzoh are placed on the table covered by a special cloth, and are used in the service. Explanations and recipes can be found here. Also on the table is a special ceremonial plate containing symbols of the holiday.
Haroset, a mixture of chopped nuts, dried fruit, and wine, is combined with horseradish in a sandwich of Matzoh. The process of making the sandwich, layering the horseradish and then the haroset, is to remind us of the work the Hebrews did in bondage, building the Egyptian cities.
At my seder table, appetizers generally are the same my grandmother served. I've included her recipe for chopped egg and onion, which is served with Matzoh. Gefilte fish, a kind of cold fish cake is also traditional, and following my grandmother's tradition I use prepared gefilte fish from the bottle.
Chicken Fricassee was the first dish I ever learned to cook. It is slow cooked chicken and meatballs.
Lamb was used as a sacrificial offering at the Temple in Jerusalem. For my seders I often serve a leg of lamb coated in a Dijon mustard marinade as the main course. It is simple and a crowd pleaser.
Another of my Grandmother's favorites that I will pass on to you is her cucumber and onion salad.