One of the H-E-B grocery stores here in town has a "Kosher Store" inside it, which consists of a whole corner of Jew food. I don't make it up there very often - I think the last time I went was on the second day of Chanukah 2006, when I somehow forgot to make sure I had candles until after the holiday had actually started (I didn't) - but whenever I do I generally spend at least ten minutes just wandering through the aisles, absorbing the aura of imported jelly candies and glass bottles of sauerkraut. If I'm lucky (as I was today) there will also be a confused Christian employee with a heavy Texas twang trying to track down some sort of incomprehensible food for a Jewish patron ("Hey Marie, do y'all know anything about cinnamon matzoh??? Do we carry that stuff???"). (In his defense, I'd never heard of cinnamon matzoh either.)
I went today to do some last-minute shopping for tomorrow night. Allow me to take this opportunity to state for the record that if the H-E-B in CENTRAL TEXAS carries something like EIGHT varieties of gefilte fish, I tremble to think of what a shopping trip somewhere that Jews actually live consists of. Whenever I was overwhelmed by the options, I kept being tempted to just grab the Manischewitz brand of whatever I was looking for (what better way to initiate six people into the mysteries of their first seder? mmmm, Manischewitz), which led me to the unpleasant discovery that Manischewitz adds MSG to, like, everything. What's up with that???
This is also the first seder of my life at which I am resolved not to only drink grape juice. I am a grown woman, after all.
I'll close out this holiday post with a couple from the archives... here's the closest I've ever been to Jerusalem at Passover: Mme Duthoit's dining room table, way back in the France days, when she was out of town and Sandy and I had a little pseudo-seder:
Unfortunately, after I made up that lovely plate, I couldn't really remember what to do. I think we dipped some parsley in saltwater and opened the door for Elijah and that was about it.
I also have to confess that I'm pretty sure the egg on the plate is one of the Easter eggs that we also decorated that night: