Symbolic foods on the Seder plate tell the story, but Passover feasts can include everything from brisket to brownies. Retelling the timeline of the Jews' exodus from slavery to freedom, and guiding children through the mysteries of the Seder plate, is the main order of business. But so much time is spent with games, storytelling and the rituals of this holiday that just about anything goes for supper. So planning a Seder meal can be as simple or complicated as the cook decides. Either way, it pays to have a gameplan so that once the storytelling is through hungry appetites can be satisfied.
1. Make the lemon bars the night before.
2. Early in the morning start the soup. Make matzoh balls; cover and refrigerate separately from soup.
3. Make and bake kugel; cover with foil and refrigerate.
4. Next, make and bake the rolls.
5. Four to five hours before the meal, start cooking the entrée: either brisket (4 hours) or prime rib (5 hours.) When meat is cooked, pull it from oven and tent with foil; let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
6. Place kugel in oven and cook for 10 minutes or until warmed through. Turn oven off. Wrap rolls lightly in foil and sprinkle with water. Let them reheat for 5-10 minutes.
Tips and Games
If you start Passover planning early, gathering eight days' worth of games and essentials is a snap.
- Keep table decorations and linens simple so focus is on the Seder plate. Two small topiaries or spring flowerpots can be put on either side of the plate.
- Have kids decorate 9-inch squares of felt with fabric pens and sequins. Hand stitch squares together as a cover for the matzoh that kids can bring to the Seder table.
Adapt favorite recipes and make them "Pesach." Replace cornstarch with an equal amount of potato starch in gravies, soups, and sauces. Use matzoh meal in place of breadcrumbs or flour.
- Plan plenty of games. Adults and older kids can act out charades of passages from the Haggadah. Younger ones might like 20 questions with characters like the Pharaoh, Elijah or The Wise Son.