I added a new experience to my Passover preparation last year. In addition to counting the haggadahs, practicing the Four Questions with my daughter, inviting guests, shopping and cleaning the house, I made gefilte fish from scratch for the first time ever.
Neither my mother nor any of my grandmothers had felt the need to initiate me into the gefilte fish sorority, even though I know they all had this experience. After trying it myself for the first time, I think I may have a good idea why they decided not to pass on this tradition. I went in with blind and irrational optimism after watching the instructor at a cooking class make it look so easy. Here's what I learned.
During the festival of Chanukah, Jews around the world will prepare the traditional foods that represent their individual cultural backgrounds. Families with Eastern European ties will serve fried potato latkes. In Germany, jelly doughnuts called Berliner pfannkuchen are prepared. Italian Jews deep-fry fritters known there as bombolini. In Israel, they make sufganiyot, jam-filled doughnuts, and it is reported that more than a quarter of a million of them are made there every year during Chanukah.
Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, and although cooking for Passover requires a lot of preparation, I look forward to it each year. It is a time when our family and close friends join together to share thoughts and exchange ideas as we participate in the seder.