We Can’t ‘Pass Over’ That Food is Love!

As Passover approaches, are you like me and fall asleep to planning the holiday meal?  And if you are also like me, do you try to introduce new dishes that will bring happy smiles to those who share your sacred dinner? No one wants to think your guests will go home saying, “She served the same meal last year and the year before…!”

Like so many Jews, we were raised that cooking for your loved ones is a gesture of love, passion and caring. It is approached with seriousness because not only does it make us recall the meaning of each holiday celebration but it reminds us of the starving kids in Europe, as my Bubbie used to say, and how blessed we are to have the abundance of fresh/healthy foods to choose from.

And this year it is so apparent that there are starving kids in the 21 Century, a thought that is so shocking to comprehend. People in Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia and other countries, suffer from shortages of food. World hunger is real. How difficult this realization is for us to serve large/joyous meals. And yet, how blessed we are that we can.

As Jews, this Passover shouts Let My People Go and comes closer to home with the Israeli conflict still in full force while the Hostages are still in captivity. The words have never been more electrifying than they are now in real time. Bring Them Home has become the new mantra and a familiar song that many young people can identify with from a favorite Broadway musical, Les Misérables. I heard one teen say, “I now get the Bible stories I’ve been taught and Bring Them Home touches my heart in a new and heartfelt way.”  

How devastating that Central World Kitchen suffered the loss of workers who were just trying to feed people and then lost their lives. No words can convey the sadness for doing a humanitarian mitzvah. I’ve been a donator to this wonderful organization and encourage others on this Passover to share your abundance with them.

May I suggest this year that we are cognizant of people’s food issues! Please know that it’s not uncommon at later ages to suddenly develop dairy and gluten issues that can make one very ill. I know because I recently found out I can’t eat anything with cow’s milk (goat and sheep milk are okay!) and nothing with wheat. I’ve discovered gluten-free products and my favorite is Yehuda Gluten-Free matzos! They actually make the best fried matzah because they stay crispy and are great for matzah kugels! Not a soggy matzah in the bunch! For dairy substitutes, I suggest coconut milk, dairy-free cream cheese and melting the two together makes a great sauce!

Food is not just about eating, it touches our lives in a variety of ways. But as we plan for Pesach, let’s be aware that food is absolutely about LOVE! Love of taste, love of cooking, love of sharing the cooking process with others, love of eating, love of celebrating and most importantly on this Passover, love for others who don’t have the choice to share the celebration with their loved ones or enough food for their table.

From my table to yours, Chag Sameach. And prayers to Bring Them Home and enough food for everyone…Sandy

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