Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pesach Overview & Organizing Tips

Freedom at last - at the expense of annoyance. For this first time in twelve years, we are going out for the second seder. A break was in order, unfortunately OS was less than thrilled. He'll survive! Anyway, I'm having people Friday night too, so he'll have enough "mommy" food to satisfy him!

Anyway, when planning for pesach, the best thing to do is get a big pad, a pencil and your datebook. Start with a general idea for each lunch and dinner for each day. By three weeks before, you'll know where you are for sedarim, and if you've been invited for lunches - So you can start the game plan. If you put together a master plan of meals, you can also be more specific about your shopping lists. And this is the time to add more invitations if you feel like it.

Once you've finished go meal by meal, start expanding. Start with the meals where you have company, and want to make the best impression and use your most successful dishes there. Then fill in the other meals, making sure not to be too repetitive. And remember, everyone will feel much better if you concentrate more on vegetables over matzah-meal filled kugels. The days after the sedarim don't need more than matzah pizza (or some such easy thing) and sliced veggies or a salad.

Once you've got each meal planned, it's time to start with making shopping lists - four separate ones: 1) butcher, 2) grocery (dry goods), 3) fresh veg & fruit before the cooking starts, 4) last day before chag fresh stuff. Go item by item for each menu, and note the things you need on the correct list. Use the cross-hatching system (totaling bags of carrots for example), so you don't need to cross out, or you don't end of writing carrots six times on the list!

Next it's time to figure out what you're making when. Try to group similar items - for example, all the carrot recipes. This will cut down on washing. If you're making a tzimmes with sliced carrots, and a kugel with grated carrots, the same peeler, cutting board, food processor can be used without going near the sink! Ditto with garlic items..... It's harder to do with baking, as pesach cakes tend to be in the oven for so long, but doing prep in between each cake uses your time efficiently.

Check back soon, I'll post my menu for the first seder -

And for all you newbies out there - breathe and HAVE FUN!


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