Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Know I’m Energetic, but on Passover I’m Full of Beans!

It’s that time of the year again. We’re all thinking about Passover and the family getting together for the Seder. I know I am. School is already out. Everyone’s cleaning their house and all the mothers are planning their menus for the Seder night. Yes, I didn’t say nights. That’s because we only celebrate one Seder night and if you think I’m pretty bouncy now, wait till you see me at the Passover Seder. I’m full of energy. “No way,” you say, “Zvuvi can’t be more energetic than he already is.” Well, I am. I’m a virtual jumping bean and I’m going to spill the beans about why. I’m what they call in Israel a “Mizrachi.” That means my family comes from Middle Eastern countries. A lot of Israelis have their roots in Morocco, Iraq, Syria and other countries in Israel’s neighborhood. So do Israeli flies. My mother’s family comes from Turkey and my father’s family comes from where the Passover story took place – Egypt. We Mizrachi folks (people & flies) believe that it’s O.K. to eat legumes on Passover. That means kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, peanuts, even rice and all other yummy kinds of legumes are part of our Passover menu. “No way,” you say again, “that’s a lot of hot air!”
No it’s not. Well, O.K., maybe hot air and beans go together, but honestly, I’m telling you the truth. Our rabbis don’t agree with the Ashkenazic rabbis who centuries ago said lentils are a “no-no” for the Passover diet because they resemble leavened food when they swell up. That’s why when Israelis do their Passover shopping they have to look carefully at the ingredients on all the packaging. Some foods will say Ocheli Kitniyot: “For Legume Eaters”.
You know what’s happening now? Don’t groan – more and more Ashkenazim are asking themselves “to bean or not to bean – that is the question!”

Happy Passover cooking!

P.S. Need an Afikomen idea? You can get a 10% discount on my book ZVUVI’S ISRAEL when you shop at Kar-Ben’s online store. Use the special code TAMI when you check out. This offer is available until April 20, 2010.

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