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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

The thing about Jewish holidays and cooking is that you *can*, but you're only permitted to cook for *that* day. Day is defined as nightfall to nightfall. This means you can't cook on, say, Thursday afternoon for the seder on Thursday night. If you're strict about that, I mean. I am. Since it's necessary to prepare for the Sabbath in advance, one prepares two cooked foods - usually bread or matzah and an egg - before the holiday begins and makes a special blessing. One then puts those foods aside and eats them on Shabbat. This means you have already begun your Shabbat prep and can continue. This also enables you to light your Shabbat candles and things like that.

It doesn't work for days when you can cook and use fire, which is why you can't start Thursday night dinner on Thursday afternoon if Thursday afternoon is a holiday. If you're strict, I mean.

So, how do you manage? There are several ways. First - cook as much as possible in advance. In fact, cook everything possible in advance to limit what you need to do on the second night. Second, if you happen to make a really large dish for lunch on Thursday because it tastes better made in quantity, you can certainly eat the leftovers Thursday night. Third, pick dishes that can be cooked quickly. For example, I'm going to roast potatoes on the second night. I'll cut them up small and put them in a hot oven, and they should cook during the first part of the seder, which takes at least an hour anyway. I'll also steam carrots. My mother-in-law has been known to cook a salmon at that point.

To that end - I'm serving pot roast Thursday night. The pot roast is already done and sitting in my fridge, with the juices in a separate container. It will sit there until Thursday night, which is just fine for that. By the time we eat, the roast will be room temp and the gravy will be hot, and that will be sufficient. I'm serving a turkey for dinner on Wednesday (there's a custom among Ashkenazim to avoid roasted foods and all lamb on the first night of Passover, but no one looks at a turkey and thinks "sacrifice", so I'm making a turkey.) That should work out fine because tomorrow is a weekday, except we can't eat chometz after 10AM and we can't eat matzah until that night. I'm also making matzah balls and a farfel stuffing, plus the stuff for the seder plate and the hardboiled eggs we all eat before the meal.

I haven't vacuumed or washed the floor. I'm exhausted.

Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
We can't?

I missed the "can't eat chametz after 10 AM" thing. Why is that? Does that mean just in your house, which you've cleaned, or overall? Usually it's not an issue, but I'm not at my parents' house this year...

Re: We can't?

10AM was a guess. We can't eat chometz after a certain point in the morning, and we can't *own* it after a later point, but that depends on your location, or rather, the location of the sun in the sky where you are. There are websites that say when. As I write this, my husband is about to say "chol chamira", which will nullify all the chometz that we haven't sold, and make it ownerless.

At this point in NYC it is forbidden to eat chometz. Any chometz. It may be permissable to own for a short while, but Jonathan is going out to get a few last minute things and we wanted to say it on time. Early is fine.

I'm familiar with the legal reasoning behind not doing any cooking the first full day of Pesach (or any Yom Tov), but I am convinced that whoever came up with those restrictions was Not Doing The Cooking -- because, yes, it's possible in this case, but only if you (a) do extensive advance planning, as you say, and (b) assume that the people Doing The Cooking are going to miss a decent-sized chunk of the first half of the second Seder.

Nevertheless, I'm seriously impressed, especially since you seem to be doing most of this on your own. Must take notes in case I go insane next year and invite half the metro area to my new house for one Seder, as I am considering. ;) And now I have to go back to work for the event tonight -- I was printing out some last-minute songsheet additions -- and whip up the Passover rolls for lunch (with the soup chicken, of course, and the Scary Passover Mayonnaise because nobody believes me when I tell them it's way easier to make the mayonnaise from scratch).

Actually, the people who reasoned this out did so in a time/place when the norm was *one* day of yomtov, so it wasn't a factor - there were no second seders.

And of course I'm doing it on my own. It's hard to do potluck when the majority of your guests don't keep kosher at all. I'm doing it by making large food. It doesn't take much more effort to make large food than it it does to make small food, and you feed more people/have more leftovers. I like leftovers. Also, preprepared salads, frozen gefilte fish logs and things like that help.

I'd make mayo from scratch as a matter of course but my husband is afraid of salmonella, because it *is* easy and I use so little mayo that it tends to go bad between times.