You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate the hard work that goes into preparing for Passover. In fact, I have a hunch that the entire concept of spring cleaning is rooted in the Jewish custom of cleaning your house for Pesach. But perhaps almost as difficult as the cleaning is the shopping for food that has been certified as kosher for Passover and cooking for seven or eight days of meals with unfamiliar dishes that you only use for a week each year. Every counter has to be covered, every sink has to be lined or cleansed with boiling water and no specks of Chametz (leavened bread) can come in contact with the Passover food or utensils. And, of course, Pesach is a holiday for family and friends, which means that when cooking is always multiplied dramatically from the standard family food preparation.
As you may know, I’m on a quest to remain cool, calm and relaxed – a task which is additionally difficult during this stressful, busy time. The good news is that my fantastic mother arrived a few days ago, ready to help with the kids and the kitchen. And I think (I hope) that overall, I’ve been remaining relatively collected, and managing to balance the demands of the family, the holiday and work. The bad news is that last night, after a late-night run to the grocery store (kid-free, I might add, because it was practically past my normal bedtime), I came home to realize that the 5 chickens I’d cooked in the oven were sprayed with cooking spray that wasn’t kosher for Passover! Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I discovered that not only did I lose 5 chickens which I’d intended to serve to my guests, but my newly-kosher-for-Passover oven had just become unkosher for Passover!
After a slight panic attack, I was able to form a decent plan of action (with the support, of course, of Mordecai and Mom). I re-koshered the oven, put the Chametz chicken into the freezer and decided to serve some of my extra meat instead of the missing chicken. Is it the way I planned? No. Did this incident throw a wrench into my Pesach planning? Most definitely. But I think that I’m a stronger, calmer person because of this experience. And I truly hope that as you struggle through the holiday preparations or just a spring cleaning, you’ll remember that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday!