The Locavore Seder: Because Kosher for Passover Doesn’t Have To Be Gross (not to mention environmentally hostile)

From Wendy Fergusson, not only our director of the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, but also the organizer of this year’s Community Second Night Locavore Seder.

Why does “kosher for Passover” automatically send shivers down my spine? Well, I guess it all started in my days in an ultra-orthodox seminary in Jerusalem. That year, instead of covering the kitchen from floor to ceiling in tin-foil, I threw my hands in the air and begrudgingly ate at the seminary’s cafeteria. I was sick for a week- no, make that 8 days. The cafeteria’s version of “kosher for Passover” was overly processed and packaged foods, soup mix with MSG over everything, and food cooked days in advance (sometimes weeks, folks). Ugh. I found myself eating strange cakes three meals a day and my stomach ultimately hated me.

Two things struck me as very odd. First, plain ol’ fruits and vegetables are kosher for Passover! So, why then during Passover, do we try to make everything we are used-to out of sub-par ingredients?!? It’s just 8 days! Would it kill us to just eat healthy meals for 8 days? Do we need all these funky cakes, matza-lasagna, and other crazy Passover inventions? You know what? A dinner of tilapia, broccoli, and mashed-potatoes is kosher for Passover.  A chicken breast, asparagus, and honey-glazed carrots dinner is kosher for Passover too! Those packaged, overly processed Passover foods are disgusting and an embarrassment to Jews everywhere.

Why as Jews, who love to eat, do we settle for this crap?

Second, as Jews we have the responsibility (and sometimes burden) of honoring our environment (Rambam’s baal tashchit) and too many people completely convert to excess aluminum, plastic ware, and other disposable items on Passover. Forget Passover, this often happens every week on Shabbat! With minimal effort, we can easily cut down on the amount of disposables used at Shabbat and holiday meals. Every little bit helps!

This was the inspiration for our 2009 Community Second Night Locavore Seder. We are inviting you to join us for a celebration of the second night of Passover on April 9, using ingredients found within a 250 mile radius of Washington. As we celebrate the freedom of the Israelites let us also take a step forward towards sustainable, local produce! We’re asking you to help us reduce the amount of waste at the Seder by bringing your own cup or glass to avoid the need for additional disposables. The actual Seder will be led by Cantor Maurice Singer in the traditional style with lots of singing and participation. Our private chef for the Seder has created a fabulous menu which showcases a variety of local flavors while recreating some of the traditional tastes of Passover like matzo balls and tzimmes.

To learn more about the Seder, view the entire menu, and register online, go to:

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