Celebrating Pesach – Passover

 Wishing you peace, prosperity, and all the joys of Passover.

 

Submitted by Tiffany Bartlett

Passover, Peace, and New Friends

Entering university in Toronto, a multi-cultural city, opened my eyes to new cultures, religions, traditions, and of course, foods. One of my most memorable experiences taught me much more than any course could have. During my first year at university, I lived in residence amoung students from across Canada and the world that brought unique life experiences, worldviews, and recipes. One night, during the Passover holiday, I was invited by my Jewish friend to join her and other students from diverse cultures in the residence to cook traditional Passover recipes. I was very excited and intrigued to learn about the Passover ceremony and engage with students who would be sharing the kitchen and the meal.

Surprised was I to enter the kitchen and find three male Jewish students dressed in traditional Orthodox attire, four Muslim students, and two female Pakistani Hindu students, each of whom I hade seen around campus and residence many times. As it turned out, they were involved in a campus dinner club where each student organizes a dinner party in the residence to celebrate one of their traditional holidays through food and rituals. This was the first time I was participating in the cultural festivities of the group therefore I felt like an outsider. Their openness and respect for diverse religious beliefs and traditions convinced me to stay and cook this Passover meal with my new friends.

Collectively, we prepared what turned out to be one of my favourite meals. Each of us took turns washing, cutting, rolling, frying, plating, praying, and cleaning. We played guitar, sang Jewish hymns, and listened to recitations of the Torah into the early morning hours. It was remarkable to witness, and presently recall, a group of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian students celebrating Passover in a small basement kitchen. I gained a new admiration and respect for my peers and for the importance of creating community. Through this experience, I recognized the power of food in building peace –  sharing recipes and communal cooking involves trust, tolerance, equality, and friendship.

Classic Potato Kugel

Potato Kugel

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) vegetable oil
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) matzoh meal

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour vegetable oil into 9×13 inch rectangular baking dish.

Grate potatoes with shredding blade of food processor or large holes on hand grater. Transfer grated potatoes to colander and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly by squeezing potatoes by hand to remove excess water. Place in large mixing bowl.

Add finely chopped onion to grated potatoes.

Beat eggs with salt and pepper. Add to potato mixture. Add parsley and matzoh meal. Mix thoroughly.

Place baking dish into oven and let heat for 5 minutes or until very hot. Remove baking dish and pour about half of the hot oil into potato mixture. Stir well. Spoon potato mixture into hot, oiled baking dish. Bake 50-60 minutes or until top of kugel is golden brown and crispy. Enjoy!

Note: 

Potato kugel may be made ahead of other Passover dishes. Bake kugel 40-45 minutes and let cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Reheat at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

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