Ancient Foods,  Cooking,  Culinary History,  Food History,  History,  Holidays,  Jewish Cooking

Passover: An Experience

If you are a careful reader, in my last post, you may have realized that I left out one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar – Passover!

That’s because if you have ever been part of a Passover seder before, you know that it is not so much a holiday as a true living-history experience! Since Passover is just around the corner, I thought it would be neat to share the history behind Passover.

Passover is the Jewish celebration of an important part of their history. Passover celebrates the release of a nation of slaves to become their own people. It is a holiday all about freedom! After the Ten Plagues, God commanded the Israelites to take all they owned and leave Egypt for a Promised Land of their own. Since the people of Israel did not have much chance to prepare for their journey, they didn’t have time to bake bread. Instead they took their dough with them and cooked it into unleavened bread or what is called now, matzos.

Since the Egyptians were the first people to create sourdough, it is very likely that the original bread that the Israelites ate was some type of sourdough. Since sourdough takes lots of time to puff up and collect wild yeast from the air, it is easy to imagine why they couldn’t bake the bread that they were use to.

The word “seder” in Hebrew means “order”. The Passover seder is the order that the meal is served to those participating. It relives the ten plagues, the flight from Egypt and the happy feelings of freedom at last. The story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold and relived. To take part in a seder is to be able to really engage your imagination and ponder what it might have been like to live those events in real life. There are not many special foods associated with the holiday besides matzos or unleavened bread. However, religiously observant Jews eat matzos the entire week of the holiday as a reminder of what their ancestors went through. 

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