As I write this it is also the weekend of Suicide bombers in Sri Lanka who in a co-ordinated attack killed over 200 people and injured over 350 people at Churches and Hotels at what is the most sacred and busiest time of year. Why? Well because of Religion unfortunately. I am not a religious person because I believe that religions mostly divide people in to groups that separate based on differences in religion. But let's talk about the food connection.
Usually Food is the common thread that brings people together except for the time of religious holidays. This year Passover and Easter fell at the time time on the calendar so many people are observing their holiday traditions which include feasts. But that's the similarity of the two events, there are other similarities which I will mention but because of religion the Jews follow the practices of 2 nights of Seders where they do not cook with wheat and there are other food rules that Orthodox Jews follow very strictly. Whereas on Good Friday, Christians eat Fish and I would say the ones that don't cook will have Fish and Chips at a local restaurant. The fish is battered with flour. Jews are still eating fish at their Seders but it is Gefilte fish which is white fish that is made into a loaf and can be either sweet or savoury. I prefer the sweet one.
Let's talk potatoes. This is the food everyone agrees on. Whether it's fries or roasted potatoes it's pretty safe for any religion. I guess that's why French Fries are eaten more than any other vegetable.
And the meat. It is common to have Beef Brisket at a Seder dinner and sometimes Kosher chicken too. For Christians they have Ham and probably Turkey.
I made chopped liver with caramelized onions to spread on my matzohs but I don't think there is an equivalent for Easter dinners.
Desserts, here is where the common thread is Chocolate. Everyone can eat chocolate unless they are diabetic. The only thing is that during Passover you can't use flour to make baked goods. The new trend is to make a chocolate bark using Matzohs and it's called Matzoh crack. It's not a thing with my family but younger people love it.
This year I made a religious free Flourless Chocolate Cake. It's a pretty simple recipe that is almost like making a chocolate mousse but it's a cake. You eliminate the flour by using eggs. Anyone can eat this cake and it's delicious. I also made Coconut Macaroons which are another thing that anyone can eat but not so popular with as many people. My cake was a big hit at my families table so I am sure I will be making it again.
The Bread, hot cross buns are a sign of the cross and Matzoh's are significant because the Israelites had to leave in a hurry and didn't have time for the bread to rise. They are both bread but at this time of year you eat one or the other. Last year I made Hot Cross Buns just to see what they were like to make them. They were delicious and I wish that we could eat them whenever we want to.
What has me really puzzled is why we follow all of these religious food rules decades after our ancestors who followed these rules because of their circumstances and religious beliefs.
We now live in a modern society where we can get any kind of food from anywhere but we still follow these food rules. My cousin told me that there was a certain Matzoh that cost $40 a box. Why does it cost so much and why do people buy it?
Personally my thoughts are the steadfast religious beliefs that separate religious families into separate groups is not good for the World we live in at this time. We are a global generation and people can spread hate throughout the world with one tweet and it could start with a family going to a Church and planning to have a large feast afterward.
What can we do to stop the hate between religions? Will it take the abandonment of the strict traditions and practices for things to change? When we see others as different we do not see the similarities as in the food I have mentioned. We are different but ultimately we all want the same things, we want health, happiness, love, respect and basic necessities of life.
*Most of the recipes can be found on my previous blog posts about Passover and Easter.