Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Recipe for ?

Food hits us hard when  it comes to our roots.  Aden's description of the Seder brings my grandfather right back to me.  I come from a very mixed family, with Catholics and Jews fighting it out with English and Native Americans in my DNA.  My grandfather was  Russian Jewish, from Moldova, and stowed away on a ship at age 14 with his little sister Sarah, to get away from the pogroms. They landed in Canada. Long, long story short, when he was 35 he married my grandmother, who was 19 and of mixed descent-- white missionary met Native American somewhere in the Dakotas.  She was 5'11" and he was 5'5."  They both had mighty brains.  A recipe for a troubled but lively marriage. 

My dad was raised rather schizophrenically by my grandfather, who was trained as a rabbi in the Soviet Union, moved to Canada, apprenticed to a tailor, went to McGill University, and became a psychiatrist, and my grandmother, who was part Blackfoot Indian and more parts missionary stock who grew up in the mountains of Idaho.   She was a card-carrying member of the Communist party, literally, while he was a refugee from Russia who despised Lenin and, later, Stalin. 

They compromised by practicing no religion at home, and celebrated Christmas in a secular way.  But my grandfather talked a lot about Passover and its rituals, more and more as he grew older, so I recognize all the things Aden describes here.  When I was in college and graduate school, I went to a number of Seders, and I can say that I love the charoset and the matzoh ball soup (and the wine!).  Also, we have a tradition very much like the afikomen-- we hide an ornament shaped like a pickle in our Christmas tree each year, and the person who finds the pickle on Christmas morning gets a special prize.

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