Why Our Italian Kitchen Cooks Passover Seder Meals

Passover 2022 begins at sundown on Good Friday, how perfect is that?

ITALIAN OR JEWISH…The Kitchen is where my family’s cultures come together.

I get asked all the time, “Why does Marias Italian Kitchen prepare Passover meals?” and many are surprised by my answer.

It is because I celebrate Passover. I was raised by an  Italian Catholic mother, I  married a Jewish man and my son attended Jewish day school until he celebrated his  Bar Mitzvah. In my home we  celebrate all holidays, Easter and Passover with great food prepared with love. It’s that simple.

In fact, the most famous fresco “THE LAST SUPPER” painted by Leonardo da Vinci depicts a Passover Seder and it resides (actually it is painted on the wall) in a church in Milan. My mother Maria and I visited that small church in 2000. There was a long line to get in, but somehow my mother’s charm got her in. She had tears in her eyes at the site of that fresco (painted while the mortar was wet so it set and that is why it is still visible for centuries.) It is a part of the Church.

I am not alone in my multicultural attitude, especially when it comes to food. Evan Kleiman wrote an essay in the LA times titled,   Cross Cultural Cooking, and shared how she grew up in a Jewish home but fell in love with Italy, the food and the people. In fact she shares that she had been looking for a grandmother he whole life and “found her in kitchens all over Italy.” Evan sounds more like my mom when she speaks of Italian food than I do. They both share Passion and Soul to food culture.  

Plant-based chopped liver is totally vegetarian and once you taste it you will think you are eating the real thing, made with peas, walnuts and eggs it is smooth and creamy I like to serve it at room temperature. 

Our Brisket is simmered for hours with onions and carrots. It is moist and the gravy has just a hint of sweetness. I serve it with creamy mashed potatoes. Our Roasted  Chicken is my all-time favorite comfort food. Roasted with potatoes, carrots, Italian parsley, olive oil, herbs and smothered by onions. Our version of Tzimmes. 

What in the world is Tzimmes (pronounced SIM-MESS )? My dad who was 100% Italian would say any time my mom would start yelling “Hey don’t make a Tzimmes out of it,” which means a big deal or fuss. I did not know what that word meant and I asked my Dad why he would use it. He told me that when he was visiting his aunt in Brooklyn he earned 25 cents to turn on the lights at the Rabbis house and he would hear them speaking Yiddish. He heard “SIM MESS” said often then asked what it meant. He grinned and said it was a perfect word to use in our crazy Italian family.  

Last by not least are our handmade Coconut Macaroons dipped in Callebaut Belgium chocolate. We dip them right down the middle so you can choose whether you want to eat the plain side or the chocolate side.

They are so light that you’ll want to eat more.