At this time of year, even before Purim has come and gone if you mention Passover you may notice people look a little tense. There is so much to do in terms of cleaning and searching for chametz (leaven), and in the kitchen. For some reason cooking and baking for Passover scares people. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the whole build up to Passover is stressful, or the time element (most people have 1 or 2 days in a kosher for Passover kitchen to do all their cooking), but there’s no denying the fact that people find it stressful. Here are 5 top tips to help you beat the Passover kitchen panic:
1. Plan your seder and yom tov meals in advance: find recipes, decide what you want to make and plan it all well in advance. After you have done that, think of some ideas for weekday meals that your family will enjoy. Try to find easy Passover recipes, as well as some that can be made in advance. In addition to main meals and side dishes, don’t forget Passover desserts and cakes. Store bought cakes really can’t compare to home made ones. One year I made only 2 cakes for the first day of the holiday. Before I had even lit candles the first one, a particularly delicious flourless chocolate cake had been devoured. Since then I always make 2 of those in addition to other cakes.
2. Prepare your Pesach programs menus and shopping lists in advance. Once you have selected your menu and found the recipes make an accurate shopping list. Throughout the year many people have a store cupboard full of essentials. During Passover the situation is different, and you don’t want to run out of sugar, and have to go to the shop right before the holiday begins. Believe me, I have been there!
3. Don’t under-estimate how many eggs you will need! Almost all Passover recipes contains eggs and we go though dozens during the holiday – from matza brie to cakes, kugels, omelets, quiches and Passover rolls everything needs an egg or two or three. If you plan your menus in advance, then you can really figure out how many eggs you’ll need. Whatever figure I work out, I always add an extra tray – if kept in the fridge eggs last well over a month.
4. Before you start cooking and baking, make sure you have all the gadgets and kitchen utensils that you need. So many times I have taken out a lemon only to realize that last Passover my zester had broken, or that the measurements on the measuring jug are no longer visible. To counteract this at the end of every Passover I tape a list to my Passover cupboard door reminding me what I need to buy for next year.
5. Remember that you are supposed to enjoy the holiday! Don’t be a slave to the cooking, take a break and remember that it’s all about freedom from slavery.