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10 Tips to Cooking for the Passover Seder

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Passover Cooking

Passover Cooking

Giora Shimoni

1. Start Organizing Early:

Preparing for Passover is exhausting. The cleaning is intense and tiring, the shopping is challenging and expensive, and the cooking is time consuming and difficult. The only way I've found to stay on top of the exhaustion is to do a little at a time. If weeks before the holiday you make a time chart to organize your tasks by day and time, you stand a better chance of having a pleasant Pesach prep experience.

2. Learn from Experience:

Each year keep your Passover shopping list and your Passover menus and recipes either saved in your computer or printed out in a notebook. Only keep the recipes that worked well!

3. Choose a Simple Menu:

The Seder is a big event in itself. There will be a lot of action at the table. Your guests will drink wine and eat from the Seder plate before they even start to eat the meal. Your menu can be traditional and simple. There is no need to overdo it.

4. Choose "KFP" Recipes:

Recipes that are inherently kosher-for-Passover (KFP) tend to work better than regular recipes that you adapt for Passover. Passover cake meal simply doesn't work like regular flour.

5. Choose "Advanced" Recipes:

Choose recipes that can be made in advance. It is best to do as little cooking as possible the day of the Seder. Setting the table, preparing the Seder plate, getting the kids dressed and cooking the food that needs to be made that day will keep you busy enough.

6. Choose "3M" Recipes:

3M stands for Minimal Matzah Meal. Recipes with large amounts of matzah meal tend to be heavy. Fruit compote or mousse cake generally taste better than cookies on Passover.

7. Start Shopping Early:

Clean your freezer first and then stock it with meat, poultry and fish. If you need any new cooking utensils or items, you can buy that early too. This will help spread out Passover expenses and save you shopping time closer to the holiday.

8. Buy Smart:

Don't buy too many processed Passover foods like cookies and cereals. No one will want to eat them after the holiday. If you run out of these items during the holiday week, you can go back to the store to get them. And your kids might even surprise you by eating fresh fruit instead of the processed snacks.

9. Start Cooking Early:

Passover cooking takes time. Pesach restrictions mean ingredients, cooking utensils, pots and pans and even the layout of your kitchen will be new. You may have to think twice about where you put that one good Pesach knife. You might have used that big pot for the cauliflower, and now you have no where to put your soup. I usually start cooking two or three days before the Seder.

10. Stay Focused on the Real Goal:

With all the work demanded of Passover Seder hosts, it is important to stay focused on what is really important. As important as the matzo balls and brisket may be, your guests are actually more likely to be affected by your mood. While preparing for the Passover Seder, stay focused on the goal of arriving to the Seder table feeling rested, calm, happy and even full of good humor.

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