Once I image my prolonged household, we’re all seated round a seder desk that’s lined in matzo crumbs and Manischewitz. My dad strums “Ma Nishtanah” on the guitar whereas I snack on salt-slicked parsley and lock eyes with my sister, silently asking when the prayers finish and the meal begins.
Every spring Jewish households collect to recount the biblical story of Exodus, when the Israelites escaped bondage in Egypt through locust swarms and parted seas. Passover is a pageant of tales and tune, ritual and resistance. And since we’re Jews, it’s symbolized with meals. On the heart of the desk, an ornamental platter—the seder plate—shows the meals which have guided the night time’s ceremony for generations: matzo, roast shankbone, bitter herbs, spring greens, and charoset studded with nuts and fruit. And for eight days (or seven, if you happen to’re in Israel), we go with out the same old bagels and pita, cleaning our properties and diets of leavened meals—and, relying on the household and their heritage, grains, legumes, and seeds as nicely—to signify the haste of leaving Egypt with out sufficient time for bread to rise.
Matzo could also be referred to as the bread of affliction, however the Passover meal is a feast. As a child rising up in Los Angeles, seder meant candy sliced brisket, The Silver Palate’s Hen Marbella, and kebabs from a Moroccan restaurant on Westwood Boulevard. Dessert was tangerines (from the backyard) and sticky coconut macaroons (from the deli), whereas the grown-ups broke out mezcal. However no two seders are the identical, and the canon of beloved Passover dishes is as expansive because the Jewish diaspora itself. We requested seven cooks to share the recipes that outline their very own celebrations, the place their tables are perfumed with fenugreek, harissa, and schmaltz. —Aliza Abarbanel