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Passover for One Recipe
You’ve never been more Jewish than you are today. If you’ve never been Jewish before, Welcome!
Wake up feeling frustrated, generally cantankerous and accidentally be a little snippy on the phone with your mother. Look at your calendar, wondering if you are just premenstrual, and realize that tonight is the first night of Passover. You knew it was coming, but the Zoom Seder is on Saturday so you just didn’t even think about it. Cry.
When your godmother calls to tell you about the matzah she is making from scratch at home, cry some more. There were years when Passover was the one time of year you would see each other and she always made the desserts. Cry because you do not know how to make macaroons, probably won’t find any, and also you miss her. Cry when she reads you a Marge Piercy poem.
Text your mother. Tell her you are sad, that you weren’t earlier but now you are. Tell her that you miss her.
Cover yourself in protective everything and go to the grocery store. Before you bother picking up anything, go to the “Ethnic” food aisle and check to see if there is any matzah left. Laugh because the only thing left is Gluten-Free matzah and then cry because you aren’t buying any for your mother because she is not here. Leave. Cry. Change your gloves. Try another store. Cry because they do have matzah. Grab 3 boxes, a box of matzah ball mix, a jar of gefilte fish, a jar of prepared horseradish, a bundle of parsley and then look for a shank bone. Decide that you do not need a shank bone because we have sacrificed enough in this moment.
Cry in the car on the way home. Call your mother. Apologize and cry with her.
Boil some eggs.
Peel and grate an apple, add a little honey. Cry because you do not have any cinnamon. Cry because you normally mix a pear and several types of apples all together with lemon, honey, cinnamon, and a little wine and then add nuts to half of it because two people at your Seder are allergic to nuts but right now you only have one sad apple, no nuts at all, no cinnamon, no wine, and no lemon and now your charoset is just browning before your eyes and it’s not even charoset. It’s just grated apples.
Peel your egg. Take a little parsley and put it on the plate. Sort of snort cry/laugh because you are supposed to dip parsley in salt water to represent the tears shed by your ancestors but you are actually crying on your parsley.
Open your jar of gefilte fish (kind of like a fish meatball. It is a very divisive Passover food, but you like it because it is mostly a vehicle for horseradish which your whole family loves which has always been a little strange, metaphorically, because it is supposed to represent the bitterness of bondage, but it is maybe your favorite part). Place your gefilte fish on a bed of parsley. Laugh when you realize that all Passover foods are kind of beige. Go back to crying.
Say the prayer over your matzah. Cry as you break it because you are supposed to be breaking it with the person next to you but no one is there with you.
Sit to eat at a table set for one. Light the candles as the sun goes down. Remember the way it feels when you sit next to someone on a couch and you can feel the heat from their body, but you love them, so it’s a different kind of warmth that feels like home. Be grateful that they are all safe. Recite the Shehecheyanu:
Baruch atah Adonai
Elohenu melekh ha'olam
vehigi'anu lazman hazeh
Blessed are You, Lord,
our God, Ruler of the Universe
who has granted us life, sustained us,
and enabled us to reach this occasion.
Chag Sameach, friends.
Instead of a tip bucket, I encourage you to donate to the ACLU or any immigrant rights organization.