A New Passover Tradition

Every family has its own traditions associated with the Passover seder. Year after year there are certain constants that remain. In my family, there’s the matzah cover from Israel that always finds its place on the table, along with the Maxwell House haggadahs. For decades my mom had donned her Passover apron, which pokes fun at the common Passover phrase from the cook’s perspective with these words scrawled on the front: “Why is this night different from all other nights?… Don’t Ask.”

Then there’s the food. Mom’s famous brisket. Gefilte fish. Grandma’s Charoset. But this year, I decided to break with tradition and shake things up. For the very first time my husband and I hosted the seder for my family. And while I was at it, I decided to spice up the menu too. Mom still brought the brisket, and Grandma, the Charoset, but I was in charge of most of the sides. I turned to the New York Times Passover Cookbook to find easy, spring-inspired dishes to add color to the table (and some nutrients to what has become a rather decadent meal). My roasted asparagus (with a citrus vinaigrette) and garlic-roasted carrots (with cilantro and parsley) were big hits. The cookbook has so many delicious and easy recipes that I’m looking forward to next year, when I might rotate in a new dish.

Even with a change in the location and some new dishes, a lot still remained the same at my first seder. My dad still hurried us all along as we read through the haggadah, my grandmother still insisted that she (and no one else!) be in charge of the potatoes, and my mom brought her well-worn apron. And now, having spent the time washing the dishes and serving platters when my guests left, I understand the phrase on the apron all the better. But it’s all worth it to keep our family traditions going and even add some new ones along the way.

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