Seder 2022…Finally!

April 27, 2022

Two weeks ago we attended our first Seder celebration in two years. The two years that COVID kept us all from gathering at the table has been the longest decade of my life, let me tell you. I’m not Jewish but there’s something about this particular Passover tradition of the Seder – especially as practiced by my friends who host – that gives me a deep sense of community and belonging in a way that surprises me and soothes me. Their Haggadah (which they wrote themselves) gives us a structure that, to me, is less about religion, and more about relating, supporting, accepting, and encouraging each of us to do better not only for ourselves but for our circle of connections, and by extension, the world. I’ve missed having that acknowledged and reinforced in a group setting such as this.

After what we’ve all been through, and continue to go through with the pandemic, world events, and domestic political and social problems, finally being able to have this gathering felt like a huge victory. All of us have had changes and challenges and been unable to physically give each other aid and comfort over these years. Finally being able to hug each other, to touch a shoulder in support, to see a smile or hear a laugh that wasn’t filtered through technology, was incredibly moving.

So many of us have lost so much. For me it was an uncle and aunt who passed in February and March from COVID. I’m still working through my anger towards the entities and organizations who encouraged their anti-vaccination stance. There have been other deaths and life changes amongst us as well. We brought all of that to the table and the readings and the act of sharing it lightened the heavy load we were all straining under. The Seder gave me a safe space to be emotionally vulnerable, angry, hopeful, mournful, and loved. For that I am truly grateful.

Sharing the actual meal was the best medicine in the world for breaking this pandemic fever. So many dishes. So much great cooking. Breaking unleavened bread at that table was a culinary vaccination, of which I’d accept as many boosters that are offered. There were thirteen of us around the table and almost all of us brought something delicious to share. Potato kugel, vegan mushroom soup, honeycomb from a personal apiary, and more!

I brought desserts for my contribution. A few years ago our hosts dubbed me the unofficial Seder Dessert Supplier when I brought three desserts for the meal. It’s an honor I take seriously and this year, after the two-year absence I planned on bringing five, but settled on four. In the past it’s been quite a task to come up with multiple desserts that were not only tasty but also truly KFP (kosher for Passover). Our hosts have bent the rules a bit to accommodate, though. My explorations into gluten-free baking, however, proved to be a boon this time around. Four desserts and each one of them absolutely KFP, and absolutely delicious.

I’ll drop recipes for some of these in “The Bakes” very soon, but I wanted to post here first because the night was so emotionally important to me and I needed to talk about that for a bit.

Currently listening to: Go West – From Baltimore To Paris and Denise Williams – Silly

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Dorothy Mauzy

    I love to read your writing and love to keep up with your interesting activities. I know that your baking brings many joy. This is so needed. Look forward to the next post.

    1. Carlton Baker II

      Thank you, Auntie. I’m trying to get back into posting more often.

  2. Jeff Boice

    Hello, Carlton! Jeff here from Che’s patreon. I was wondering if you have a favorite shortbread recipe you might share with me, gluttened or glutten-free?

    1. Carlton Baker II

      Hey Jeff! Funny you should ask about shortbread because that’s going to be the next post in “The Bakes”! I should get to that this week!

  3. Michele

    That Seder was a milestone in a journey back to a more in-person-connected life, sweetened by the desserts, of course.

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