Pesach is quite literally right around the corner. So please do allow me this spot of procrastination from finding out what’s growing behind my fridge-freezer to identify some of the usual suspects of this time of year. The people we know and love around this Jewish festival.
1. The Early Bird
‘10 weeks to Pesach!’ she cheerfully coos somewhere around Tu Bishvat. ‘I’m so behind schedule, I haven’t even started on the curtains yet!’ Presumably those curtains double up as picnic blankets. ‘When will the shops start stocking Pesach food, I’ve hardly even begun baking, and it’s Purim in a month! Oy!’
Flourless brownies in the chest freezer, cupboard stocked with potato starch and seventeen jars of jam, she’s good to go. In fact, she’s so far ahead of herself that her Seder table is set a fortnight before the big night itself, along with fully topped up wine glasses and matza that will no doubt be totally stale by… oh wait, no, it will probably taste the same. Carry on.
2. Last-Minute Lucy
On the other end of the spectrum is everyone’s favorite late-comer to the party, there to make us feel better about ourselves… to a point, anyway. If she hasn’t even begun cleaning, it’s probably fine that my cleaner has cancelled this week and I haven’t even thought about surface covers, right? And if she hasn’t started running down the freezer, then I’m sure I have time to convince my family they want to eat three aluminium foil pans worth of chametz schnitzel this week. At least, I think it’s schnitzel, I’d need to scrape off the ice to be sure.
The humble brag of the last-minute Lucy can be heard far and wide as the days slip away towards the festival. ‘Oh I haven’t even started shopping yet’, she will say, two days before chag. ‘Cooking? Me? No no, I’m only entertaining seven families with six kids each, no need to go overboard.’
Listen carefully as you light your yomtov candles and you might hear her flex her knuckles, get up from the sofa and search for a dustpan and brush. ‘Hmm, I’d better get started’ you might hear her say.
3. The Pesach Protestor
You’ll recognize this one, whose natural habitat is Facebook posts where she can complain about something. The topic can vary, ranging from the cost of Pesach food (‘Outrageous! It’s just PAPRIKA’) to the amount of cookies people are making. (‘Can’t you people live without cakes and cookies for one week? It’s just eight days! In our house, we just eat fruit and vegetables, and nothing else. I don’t even VISIT the Pesach grocery store, except to laugh at people.’) She’s also very very upset that you’re making Pesach rolls, which are absolutely not in the spirit of things.
How dare you all spend that hard-earned money on making the festival enjoyable for yourselves and trying to create carbs-based snacks that your toddlers won’t turn their noses up at? Don’t you know that our ancestors were slaves in Egypt? None of you are being nearly oppressed enough.
4. The Planner
This one is probably on your speed dial, the one with all the spreadsheets and the knowledge of the rare ingredients that supposedly make Pesach pancakes “just as fluffy” as the regular kind. (It’s tapioca flour. Or is it almond meal? Hang on, let me send her a quick text.)
She’s got all the answers, has made Pesach fifteen times, and is totally happy to share her wisdom. Where can I buy that shankbone from again, and should it go in the freezer? Can she check with her grandma which apples she used for that awesome Charoset last year? What’s the optimal salt to water ratio?
Her menus are colour coded, she knows the place to get the cheapest baking chocolate, and if you look stressed out and pathetic enough, she might even make you a batch of macaroons so you don’t need to spend all day separating eggs. Never leave me.
Recognize yourself? A happy Pesach to all the characters listed above, whichever one you may be. May you find plenty to do with all your leftover egg yolks (Pro tip: google Pesach thumbprint cookies), have minimal stress in the lead-up, and enjoy your holiday with family and friends!