Here we are again my friends. We had a nice little break since December but it’s time to get together with our families again and make nice while consuming copious amounts of food and alcohol. Whether you’ve made it through 40 days of Lent or a week of chametz free living we’re all in the same boat together: traditions need to be observed, kids need to be entertained and everyone needs to be fed. So, let’s get our finest looks together for living room entertaining and create a game plan for the holiest day of the year.
You’ve cleared out your home of chametz (grains, wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt and other leavening agents like yeast or baking soda), set aside all cooking and eating utensils exclusively for Passover and have been marinating lamb for two days. The house is impeccable and you’ve been mentally preparing to hear about Aunt Ingrid’s maladies for hours on end. Fortunately, the Seder dinner is one event where drinking wine is mandatory! Be sure to grab a little snack before you get started because the drinking begins way before the food and there will be plenty to get through before the feast. Are there several young kids in your family? Lucky you, you get to wait even longer to eat! Your nephew is absolutely adorable reading the four questions, but holy smokes does he need to pick up the pace.
What’s that? Time for a little more wine? Don’t mind if I do! By the time you get past the bitter herbs you’re about to pass out from the smell of Uncle Leo’s new cologne, but you’ve made it and the spread is incredible! Roasted chicken, lamb kebabs, matza ball soup, and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert! You’re so content that you’re ignoring the fact that Grandma Genie is napping on the couch blocking the cushion where you hid the afikomen. None of this matters because you’ve made it through with only a couple gripes about your choice of table linens and one comment on the size of growing posterior. It’s a beautiful time to gather with family and share the beauty of your Jewish faith, even if nobody stayed behind to help you with the dishes. Pour yourself another glass because this fantastic pack of weirdos are all yours. l’chaim!
Oh boy, where do I begin. If your family is truly religious, you’ve probably given something up for Lent and I’m not just talking about red meat. Many give up soda, sweets, tv, swearing (I can’t), carbs or event (gasp) alcohol in remembrance of all the suffering and pain Jesus experienced at the end of his life. But boy oh boy, are you able to cut loose on Easter Sunday! You’ve been through three days of church services and are beyond ready for some fun. However, if you’re one of the lucky adults in Miami on our 80-degree Easter morning you get to wake up early and hide eggs in every last cranny of your yard. The kids are filled with so much joy that you’ll most likely get to do this again and again until it’s finally an acceptable time to grab a mimosa. The level of boob sweat I experience every Easter morning forces me to plan more costume changes than Diana Ross!
After church you’ll likely gather for an insanely huge spread of food but what do we always choose as our meal of preference after 40 days without red meat? Why a spiral ham from Honey Baked Ham of course! I’m sorry but ham is just our way of phoning it in because we know this part of the day belongs to the kids and we have to cut corners somewhere. People’s homes become open houses for the day and many of us migrate from family home to home to visit with relatives, gather gifts for the kids and (dun, dun, dun) eat more ham! Let’s not forget the endless trays of deviled eggs made from the eggs your kids colored but refuse to eat. There’s bits of grass and dirt tracked all through the house from the excited kids and you better have your finest Spanx on when your Grand Aunt shows up because if she’s anything like mine she’ll tell you that you “look good but could use a little surgery on your butt.” This is why I drink.
When I look back on my life and reflect on the insanity of my family gatherings from the past, I can’t help but laugh. When you’re in those moments the stress can be so high, but that glorious retrospect always brings you back to the joyful moments you shared with loved ones. I love my crazy Tia who thinks I need some sort of plastic surgery on my butt (I really have no idea what a butt surgery is but I’m very intrigued). It’s hilarious when your grandma takes a nap on the couch preventing the kids from completing their glorious treasure hunt. Your uncle’s pungent cologne will create a heartwarming sense memory for you when he’s no longer with us and we will all continue to sweat our faces off to entertain the kids. The true beauty of these special holidays is how we all come together to celebrate a higher love that connects us all together. Our faiths may be different but our love is the same…as is the level of crazy we all have to deal with. Chag Pesach Sameach and peace be with you.