1. Since Passover happened to overlap with 4/20 this year, make the pre-requisite puff puff Passover and burning bush jokes on Twitter before looking up a recipe for vegetarian matzo ball soup. You’re going to a seder of only lesbians, so everything has to be plant-based and cat-safe. The first recipe on Google seems cool once you scroll past “Finnegan’s Wake” at the beginning. Seder is in four hours and the prep time is only 90 minutes. You’ve got this. Try not to think about the mounting pressure of cooking for other people. They’re your friends. It’s fine. Stop worrying.
2. Venture out of your apartment and go to the grocery store. It’s packed and at first you think it’s because of Passover, but you pass a wall of Cadbury Crème Eggs and remember that Easter is allegedly tomorrow. Do people cook for Easter? That’s a ham holiday, right? You’re not entirely sure. Grab some carrots and celery ribs. The recipe calls for a leek. Wander back and forth down the vegetable row because you thought you knew what a leek was but clearly not.
3. Google a picture of a leek.
4. Reach for a leek just as the little spraying things that mist the vegetables come on. Get absolutely soaked. Wrestle the leek into one of those plastic bags that you always feel kinda bad for using.
5. They’re out of fresh dill. How are they out of fresh dill? Paw through bunches of parsley for five minutes to confirm that they are, in fact, out of fresh dill. Look for a packet of dill. No dice. Ask the tired-looking vegetable guy if they’re really out of dill on Passover, ignoring the fact that it’s your fault for making matzo ball soup on Saturday. When he shrugs after returning from the back, shrug in retaliation.
6. The recipe lady stated three times that saffron is essential to making the soup taste good, and if you don’t have saffron you might as well just serve your friends and loved ones dirty dishwater. She also states that any saffron $10 or under is garbage and don’t even THINK about substituting turmeric. Wonder where this lady thinks you live where you can get the platinum of spices? Wonder who has the kind of room in their budget for a $20 thimble of saffron?
7. Decide to substitute turmeric.
8. There is no saffron in this grocery store. There is no matzo meal either. Stand, exhausted, in the Passover aisle and pick up a box of instant matzo ball mix. Feel your grandmother breathe disapprovingly down your neck. Get the rest of your stuff and go home.
9. Cut up some celery and stuff and throw it in a pot. Realize that leeks are filthy and every layer needs to be washed individually. Season the broth with three times the amount of recommended spices, then micromanage it for 60 minutes as God intended.
10. Scrub out a dirty second pot that has somehow languished nastily in the cupboard. Prep the matzo ball mix and forget to wet your fingers before rolling the balls. Thirty seconds later, stare at the quick-drying cement on your hands and wonder how much you actually love your friends.
11. Taste the broth. It tastes like nothing. Wonder if forgoing the saffron was fatal. Seder is in two hours. Dump in 10 more pounds of spices and a prayer.
12. Tweet another quick 4/20 joke about packing a bowl for Elijah. Apologize to God. Apologize to your mom. Taste the broth. It tastes like vegetable-adjacent nothing.
13. The matzo balls are too big. Decide you don’t care because seder’s in an hour and throw them in there. Micromanage the whole thing for another 45 minutes before death-gripping the searing pot to your body in the Lyft so it doesn’t spill all over this guy’s leather seats.
14. Serve immediately.