This weekend, I’m doing something that I’ve never done before. No, not visiting Target without buying anything. I’m hosting Passover on Friday evening.
Let me explain. Usually, my family is taken in as guests of family friends. But this year, those dear friends are traveling in Europe (the nerve!) and won’t be available to host us.
We’ll go to another friend’s house on Saturday, thankfully, where I’ll only need to contribute two well-mannered children, witty banter and kosher wine. But Friday is on me.
My guests, our former longtime landlords, aren’t Jewish. But I thought it would be nice to do a traditional meal for them. Whenever we visit our old two-family (they still live there!), they prepare a traditional Hungarian feast replete with meats from Karl’s Sausage Kitchen and European Market in Peabody. I’d like to do the same, in the spirit of sharing our cultural heritage, minus the sausage.
Plus, my second-grader has grown into a budding chef. Sure, his repertoire is straight out of “The Star Wars Cookbook,” but still, I know he’d love to help.
The problem is: I need someone to help me! I’ve thrown plenty of dinner parties in my time, but nothing quite like this. I do have a few important things going for me: laidback guests, a small number of diners and a spouse who knows his way around a brisket. I also know that Branch Line, not far from my house, is offering a complete Passover menu to go, so I could always do that (by tomorrow!) if I get truly scared. But is that cheating?
Then there’s the Haggadah. Thankfully, I discovered a few toddler-friendly ones through PJ Library, downloadable and everything. “The 10-Minute Seder” sounds about right for my 2-year-old.
Most of all, I want it to be relaxed…which it will, thanks to my handy, bouncy Spotify Passover playlist. I might need to intersperse it with the “Paw Patrol” theme song, but inclusivity is the point, right?
Which brings me to my reluctance: I guess I’m mainly worried about the formality, the ritual. Usually someone else is running the show. This year, it’s me! Am I qualified? Am I equipped? I feel like I’m playing dress-up in my grandmother’s closet. But, hey, I’m also 40 years old. I can handle this. Right?
I’d love to hear from those of you who are hosting your first Passovers (or who have done it successfully!). Tips? Tricks? Hacks? Am I cheating by doing takeout? Tell me!