I’ve done my best to keep the girls’ Jewish heritage alive, but Passover is the one holiday I haven’t celebrated in the last six years. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I’d do it this year, even though I bought all the ingredients. I guess I didn’t feel like there was any real claim to it for me. Even when he was alive, we never had a Seder plate (though I wanted one but he insisted he wasn’t that religious).
We also never read the Haggadah. It was more about being with family, and me trying to show his mother I cared deeply about her family history. Funny story about the first real Seder we did attend, thrown by a friend. I had no idea how long reading the Haggadah took, and Isabella was used to eating dinner at 6pm. Poor kid was ready to eat the tablecloth by time dinner was actually served.
As for last night, the first night of Passover, the kids loved our meal. We talked, laughed, and they said it was one of their favorite dinners. I made braised brisket, ginger & tamari broccoli, and Patty Unterman’s potato kugelette’s from Joan Nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen, a beloved favorite of my girls.
Admittedly, there was also a lot of flour slung around my house, one foot in my Catholic roots, baking Easter bread, working on a final pass of lemon meringue pie, and then as I looked at our dinner taking shape, I wanted something more appropriate to go with our Passover meal. I love coconut, so macaroons were ideal. The recipe comes together very quickly, and since they have no flour, they’re perfect for Pesach.
Incidentally, as I was explaining the importance of refraining from anything leavened during Passover, my little one, Virginia, pointed to the macaroons, and said, “what about those, Mommy? Aren’t they leavened?” I loved that she was able to connect the dots, and I explained that the leavening occurs from using beaten egg whites, not yeast, or baking powder. Then she pointed to the matzah, and said, “aren’t those made with flour”. Again, I explained she was correct, but the matzah is prepared with just flour and water, and using a special method to prevent it from rising.
Of course, Passover is much more than a story about unleavened bread. The real history of the holiday is one I’m ill equipped to truly share with them. The story of us, though, of the family we built—that story is one I know well. That story is their story. That story is the glue of our family.
One Year Ago: Rosemary Rise
Two Years Ago: Easy, Homemade Granola Bars
Three Years Ago: Eggs in Purgatory
Four Years Ago: Why We Cook
Five Years Ago: Vegetarian Matzah Ball Soup
Six Years Ago: Lemon Thyme & Hummus Egg Salad
Seven Years Ago: Gnocchi, a Love Story
Eight Years Ago: Easy, Cheesy Crackers
- 2 large egg whites
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup granulated natural cane sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the egg whites, sugar, extract, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until the egg whites are frothy, and begin to stiffen up a bit.
- Stir in the coconut.
- Drop by batter, 2 tablespoonfuls at a time, onto the prepared pan. Bake until the macaroons are golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer macaroons to a wire rack to finish cooling completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.