Yesterday (at the behest of my friend Sian) I hosted a Passover Seder at my house for a few friends. Half the table was Jewish or of Jewish origin, and half was not. We made the ceremony part (which can last literally hours and hours) of the Seder mercifully short at about 10 minutes, and set about enjoying some traditional foods that we had all prepared. Josh’s boyfriend Michael made a fantastic brisket, my friend Sian made a matzo kugel and a cake (kosher for Passover with almonds and egg whites), and I made charoset (my own recipe with pears, dates, walnuts, pecans, cinnamon and wine) and salad. Josh prepared an impromptu seder plate with fresh horseradish and parsley and eggs, and believe it or not we had no matzo, so we substituted rice cakes. Also in attendance were Sian’s friend Ian, and my friend Dimitri who is visiting from LA and staying with me at the moment.

Although I am nobody’s definition of religious, I was raised Jewish and orthodox (until I was 13 anyway) and it was kind of fun to be reminded of the culture of Passover and enjoy the food and drink with some friends. Many of these foods I hadn’t eaten in many years, and I don’t remember them ever tasting as good as they did last night. It probably didn’t hurt that we spared the ghastly Manischewitz wine of my childhood in favor of several bottles of nice Malbec.