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Why is this holiday more stressful than all others?
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Why is this holiday more stressful than all others?

Passover gefilte fish on a bed of red beet salad garnished with olive oil.
Passover gefilte fish on a bed of red beet salad garnished with olive oil.

I love Passover but sometimes I wish I could pass over the arduous cleaning and re-cleaning, pass over the crumbs that my kids have snuck (and stuck) between couch cushions, and clone myself for culinary purposes.

Cooking can prove cathartic when it is of the no-stress, no-mess variety, but when you’re catering to aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, cousins of cousins, in-laws, and guests, varying taste buds and dietary restrictions need to be considered. You may find yourself making two types of haroset — one with chopped walnuts and one without — and using more prunes than you can stomach.

You would think that as a cookbook author I would have this all figured out, but I am still trying to get it down to a science.

This year I decided that I had to stick with my recurrent Quick & Kosher theme. I always make suggestions to others about keeping it simple for the greatest enjoyment as a cook or baker. This year is going to be the year, God willing, to really follow my own advice, chill out, and still get it all done.

As I sit with cucumbers over my eyes (for just a nanosecond before my kids come trailing down the stairs and my BlackBerry starts buzzing), I’m struck with sudden inspiration: I will set my timer and make sure to keep prep and cook time to a minimum for each dish. I will modernize some of my traditional faves and make this a fun experience with recipes that are easily replicable. I may be dreaming, but at least I’m dreaming big.

I take out a piece of paper and divide it into sections: Adults, Kids, Adults with Dietary Restrictions/Preferences, Kids with Dietary Restrictions/Preferences. It is time to hammer out a menu, but the process is going to be enjoyable, please God. After all, Passover is the celebration that once we were slaves and now we’re free — I will not be a slave to my kitchen!

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