Family, Holidays


When my sister-in-law Luann called and said she (and my brother-in-law Dave and nephew Moses) were coming I did a little dance. I did. I was in the middle of the 3rd Street Promenade and I did a little two-step. It’s a rare and beautiful thing to feel this way about a visit from in-laws, I know.  But Luann is not like thosein-laws.  She’s smart and crafty. With knitting needles in hand she cannot be stopped.  Let her into your kitchen and she’ll whip up a delicious pie customized to your specific allergies and preferences.Passover_1

Well, OK, maybe she’s annoying in a she-always-does-everything-so-perfectly-and-effortlessly kind of way. Here she is knitting an egg for the seder plate. (Moses is allergic to real ones.)

A month ago Dave accepted a job in Silicon Valley. ‘Hams East as we once called them, packed up their life in Massachusetts and moved cross country to Northern California. Just like that we went from being ‘Hams East and West to ‘Hams North and South. We’d been in the same state for a month already so we were due for a family playdate.


And now, with our very own Moses attending, our Seder would be complete.Passover_3

The chalkboard wall in our dining room always gets a makeover on holidays, and this Passover we went all out starting with a map of Egypt.

“What’s that thing on top of the pyramid?”

“The lookout!”Passover_4

“What’s that thing over baby Moses in the river?”

“The space shuttle!”Passover_5

Pharaoh, his jewels and the big gold disc in which he lives.

The Consequences (a.k.a. Plagues). DOES NOT include killing of first born, DOES include chicken pox.Passover_6

This year, I wanted to make the greatest matzo house the internet has ever seen. It’s easy to find a good-lookin’ gingerbread house, but a Matzo house– not so much.  Many sites instruct you to glue the matzo onto cardboard.  I can’t even.  I mean, come on.  Cardboard? We might actually want to EAT the thing when we’re done. I’m no structural engineer but I knew there must be a way to make it stand up on its own.Passover_7

My brother-in-law Dave is very helpful when I need tech support. Who knew he also offers internal Matzo house support? Blurry photo but you can see the braces in there.

Vegan marshmallows anchored the pieces and Duncan Hines pre-made frosting was the perfect binder. Luann reminded me that it’s just cement– not meant for consumption anyway– so we shouldn’t feel guilty about using it in all it’s corn-syrupy, hydrogenated, non-kosher glory. Sometimes you just gotta get something done and if it ain’t organic- eff it.  (But just this once!)Passover_8

The kids had fun decorating it with natural jellybeans, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, carob chips and dried apricots.Passover_9

Vivi sneaked a nosh here and there.Passover_10

I’m a modernist so I knew I wanted to make a mid-century house, kind of like our own. While I was playing with the matzo pieces I found that a butterfly formation made the sturdiest roof.  (I’m certain this is how Rudolph Schindler worked out his design ideas, too.) Just so happens that the Abrahams boys grew up in a house with a butterfly roof.  The perfect homage to their family home and an awesome mid-century modern centerpiece!Passover_11

It was finally time to start the Seder.  Most families spend hours discussing the Four Questions and the story of Passover.  But in this family, WE ACT THAT SHIT OUT.Passover_12

The narrator and the fabulous chalkboard…Passover_13

“Let my people go!”Passover_14

“No, no, no!  I will not let them go!”Passover_15

Pharaoh gets pummeled with stuffed animals. Yeah, I totally forgot that part, too.Passover_16

‘Ham-ing it up.Passover_17

Our vegan seder plate.  Check out that egg, yo!Passover_18
I follow Golda Meir’s matzo ball recipe only I modify with whole grain matzo meal and butter instead of chicken fat.Passover_19

Luann also whipped up these delicious raw vegan macaroons.Passover_20

My mom is here visiting too, so of course we had Thai food. Phak Boong and Pak Chana in the houuuuuse.Passover_21


All that work and we even managed to get a decent photo at the end of it all.  Happy Pesach!

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