Shaina, Shaina, Shaina…

Sometimes I get a little worried about these peculiar food obsessions you have, but I really do get the tahini addiction. In fact, when you come home for Passover, can you bring as many jars of whole-hull tahini as you can fit into your suitcase under the 50-pound limit? Nothing equals that Israeli tahini! Oh, and date syrup, too. I can’t find it anywhere, and your Dad has been asking about it ever since we returned from Israel.

Shaina dressed up as an "Israeli snack"

Shaina dressed up as an “Israeli snack”

Aside from the tahini hamantashen, I know you had a wild Purim weekend in Israel. Your costume was amazing and, quite literally, good enough to eat! How long did it take you to adorn yourself with all those nuts, dried fruits and pretzels? I guess your dressing up as an “Israeli snack” for Purim shouldn’t be such a surprise. In case you tire of your current career path, you may have a calling in creative costume design.

In the meantime, the last hamantash hasn’t even been swallowed, and Passover has already barreled its way into the Jewish holiday limelight. The stores are full of matzah and chocolate-covered jelly rings, and I am about to order my fresh fish for my annual gefilte fish-making enterprise. Hope springs eternal when it comes to perfecting the homemade gefilte fish ball.

I am thinking of doing a dairy meal for the second Seder just to lighten things up a bit. I recently made a crustless quiche appetizer which can easily be adapted for a Passover quiche without even a hint of matzah. Of course, I’ll make salmon or some other fish for the main course and the usual Passover kugels and dessert favorites. I am counting on you to bring some Israeli tastes into the menu, so don’t forget that tahini. Maybe we can make some spicy gazpacho and drink it as a Slivovitz chaser.

Most of all, I am looking forward to having you home for Passover for three whole weeks—multiple trips to the grocery store, each of us manning our corner of the kitchen whipping out every available pot, pan, dish and kitchen utensil, creating a frenzy of food and flavors and colors that might send the average person in search of a silent retreat dedicated to meditative fasting. And then the miracle of Passover: Order. The kitchen is clean. The tables are set. The wine is poured. The savory and sweet find their appointed platters. The story is told, and the songs are sung. Everyone leans a little more…

I’m proud to share this food obsession with you. What other activity can last a lifetime, nurture the body and soul, stimulate all your senses, engage your creativity, convey love and caring and create a world of memories with family and friends over and beyond generations?

I suppose I could’ve passed on a worse obsession. Can’t wait until you get here!