The History of Passover Foods


Holidays are a time for family members and friends to come together, catch up with one another, and celebrate an important occasion. Passover is no different, and the seder is the centerpiece of the Passover celebration.

The seder is the traditional Jewish meal for Passover, and every Passover celebration involves specific foods that should and should not be eaten. What should everyone know about Passover, and what goes into a typical seder during this critical holiday celebration?

What Is Passover?

Passover is one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar. The history of the seder celebrates the story of the Israelites’ escape from centuries of slavery under Egyptian rule. The story itself begins with Joseph, the son of Jacob, who was sold into slavery. Eventually, his incredible knowledge and wisdom made him a trusted advisor to the king, and his family eventually joined him in Egypt.

While they lived in harmony for a certain amount of time, a new Egyptian Pharaoh immediately became suspicious of Jacob and his Israelites, who had multiplied in number significantly. As a result, the Israelites had to flee Egypt, but appeared to be trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. Moses was able to part the Red Sea, one of the greatest miracles in Jewish history, and the Israelites were able to cross to freedom on dry land.

The history of Passover is the celebration of this great escape and journey to redemption for the Jewish population, and the seder is central to the holiday.

Prep And Planning For Passover

Because there is a tremendous amount of planning that goes into Passover celebration, it is strongly encouraged that everyone starts the preparation as quickly as possible. For example, most families will start by getting rid of anything in the house that includes grain that has risen. A few examples include whiskey, beer, pasta, cake, and bread.

Some families take this a step further by getting rid of any plates and appliances (temporarily) that have come into contact with risen grain recently. While cleaning these dishes and appliances is usually enough, some families decide to forcibly remove them from the home.

Then, the shopping process begins. All food served at the seder must be kosher. A few examples include raw kosher meat, fruit, vegetables, and fish. In general, grains, including rice and beans, are not acceptable.

What Is In a Typical Passover Meal?

A typical Passover meal includes several traditional foods. For example, matzah is served at just about every seder. It is a combination of only flower and water, and it is baked before it has been given a chance to rise, and it’s often molded into balls and served as part of matzah ball soup. Wine is also served at most seders, and tradition mandates that everyone who participates drink four glasses of wine. Those who might not want to drink (or are too young) typically drink grape juice instead.

There or a few other foods that are served as well. For example, Beitzah (a hard-boiled egg), zeroah (roasted meat, often brisket), and charoset (a sweet paste) are also frequently served. A bowl of salt water is also frequently set aside for karpas, which are vegetables meant to be dipped in the salt water before being eaten.

Passover Remains One Of The Most Important Dates On The Calendar

While not every Jewish family sticks to traditional Ashkenazi customs strictly, Passover is one holiday where just about everyone follows the rules on what is kosher and what is not. Because there are several foods typically served at the seder, anyone planning a Passover celebration has to start the cooking process as early as possible. Do not forget to use the right appliances to bring out the best in all of these meals.