Day 102: L’chaim! Wait…..no…I mean L’ham!

19 Apr

For those of you living in a culturally challenged bubble, tonight is the second night of the Jewish celebration of Pesach or Passover.  Basically, Jews everywhere celebrate a moment in history that happened over 2000 years ago.  In a nutshell, Jews were slaves in Egypt.  Pharoah decided to kill little Jew boys.  One little Jew boy, Moses, escaped death by being dumped in a river by his obviously well-meaning but judgement-challenged family only to be found and raised by Pharoah’s daughter.  Moses grows up, discovers his Jewishness, and leads his people to freedom.  Miracles abounded, and Moses (aka Charlton Heston) even got to part the red sea and drown a bunch of Egyptians.  Woo hoo!  Great holiday!

I don’t mean to be cynical….well, okay…yes I do.  I’m all for celebrating freedom from oppression, but the details of the story just never sat quite right with me.  While I was born and raised Jewish, I never really subscribed to the whole thing.  I’m a firm believer that every person should try to find their own spiritual path, whether it’s the religion they were born into or another they’ve come to love.  Personally, I like my religion cafeteria style.  I pick and choose what I want to believe from the many cultures and religions of the world.  Consider it a safeguard against all that “my G-d’s the only G-d” business.  If I believe in a little of everything, I can’t get stuck on the wrong side of the pearly gates/reincarnation/what have you.  Besides, there are a few common threads that weave through all of the world’s religions.  I consider these commonalities the basic rules to live by, not what a couple of old men decided to write down a couple thousand years ago.

That being said, I do identify myself as being culturally and traditionally Jewish.  I celebrate the important holidays and observe the rites and rituals that suit me.  My family has always gotten together for a traditional Passover sedar (loooooong dinner where we retell the above mentioned story along with singing and lots of drinking) on both the first and second nights of the holiday, but not this year.  This year, we had a sedar of convenience the weekend before Passover actually started, leaving me with nothing to do during the holiday itself.  I decided that, if I couldn’t have a traditional Passover sedar with the family, I would have an anti-traditional sedar at home!  My new holiday: Porkover!

What is Porkover, you ask?  Let me show you!

yum!

This is my Porkover table.  There is no sedar plate symbolizing all the hardships of life in slavery.  Instead, the centerpiece of the table is a gigantic platter overflowing with pork.  Instead of traditional passover foods like gefilte fish and matzo stuffing,tonight’s meal consisted of food as far from kosher as possible.

oink oink

The star of the show was a apricot and mustard glazed ham.  The crust charred a bit in the oven, but it was sooooooo delicious!  Did I mention the ham came free with a $100 purchase at the supermarket?

mmmmmmmmmmmmm

As a side dish, we had baked celery root with bacon, olives, and parmesan.  This was my first time cooking celery root (aka celeriac), and It is definitely my new favorite root vegetable.  Granted, it’s one of the only roots I’ll eat…It tastes almost exactly like artichoke hearts.  You must try it!  I got the recipe here.  It didn’t quite slice the way they said it would, but it was fabulous none the less.

Lastly, what sedar would be complete without wine?  Forget Maneschewitz concord grape!  Tonight’s wine was made by a company called “The Dot”  I’d never tried this label before, but Stew Leonards gave it a nice writeup, so I decided to go for it.  The variety was Austrian Pepper/Gruner Veltliner.  I can’t even tell you just how good this wine was (is…I’m enjoying a glass as I write this).  The wine is crisp, light, and definitely spicy on the finish.  It paired fabulously well with my Porkover meal.

And yes, I put the box of matzo on the table purely for sh%ts and giggles.

L’chaim!

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