Dear Shaina,

Done with Purim and on to Passover…I am more than thrilled that you will be able to join us for at least part of the holiday. I was having a hard time even thinking about Passover until you called and said you were coming home. It’s amazing how quickly one can go from, “I’m not really up for it” to “I better order my fish and start making my chicken soup.”

Most people complain bitterly about matzah and its impactful effects. I say, Make some compote with fresh and dried fruits, and enjoy it all. Some people can’t imagine going a whole week without a hunk of bread or a slice of pizza, even though it seems that half the world is dieting or gluten free and refusing to even look at bread most days.

It just doesn’t seem like such a big deal for us. I look forward to indulging in the dishes that we make only once a year: the salads and roasted veggies, matzah farfel with mushrooms and onions, spinach kugel, gefilte fish and, of course, enough chicken soup and matzah balls to have every day if we want. The desserts are to die for—the chocolate bomb, the classic sponge cake with strawberries, meringue cookies of every variety and that matzah brittle. No one seems to suffer at our house during Passover.

I was thinking about the time you had some friends over during Passover and I made the classic matzah pizza, a piece of matzah with some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese toasted under the broiler. Your non-Jewish friends couldn’t get enough. Maybe we’re programmed to want what we don’t have.

I really do love Passover—the food, the Seders, the celebration with friends and family, the gratitude…and the slivovitz, of course. It helps that we like to play in the kitchen and that we enjoy experimenting with different tastes and textures. I was recently inspired to reinvent the classic matzah pizza and came up with a new and improved version. It probably won’t appease the diehard New York-pizza enthusiasts torturously awaiting the end of Passover, but it will surely be a satisfying Passover lunch or dinner treat for our family.

The best part of any holiday for me is getting to share the kitchen with you! Thanks for coming home!