I get it. It’s Passover. It’s a big deal. No one is denying it.
I’ve seen the meatballs. All 550 of them, counted out loud on a Facebook Live video. I saw the briskets, laid out side by side. I’ve seen the brownies – the ones made with matzah meal and the ones made with potato starch. I’ve seen the trays of handmade macaroons and merengue dollops in shades of pink and white. I’ve seen covered countertops glistening with tin-foil and contact-paper. And I’ve read giddy posts detailing every cupboard emptied, every carpet vacuumed, and every couch reupholstered in advance of the holiday.
You know why I’ve seen all this? Because each one of these milestones have been posted at the same rate and with the same unbridled enthusiasm as runners post their Runtastic stats. My newsfeed is filled with recipes requiring Passover ingredients only available in Guam. There’s a group for people frantically searching for tubs of Temp-Tee cream cheese and Orange Juice recommending other groups for people who are scalping them at four times the market price. There are daily posts of someone’s brave run to Costco or the Kosher Store asking for prayers and support.
It’s making Facebook as enjoyable as the pre-election political days.
It’s not that I’m not nervous as the first days of Passover loom like a plague of darkness. There’s a lot to take care of before the first guests drop off their bags and take ten minutes to eat through two trays of food that took a day to prepare. But the whole spreadsheets of comparative pricing, bulk ordering of vanilla sugar and soup mixes, and general panic over where to get quinoa is not really where I want to be. After all, this is the holiday of freedom, and by the way, it only lasts a week.
I’m lucky that I have my neighbor. We’re on the same Passover “schedule” and talking to her is like going to a yoga class. We meet each morning the week before Passover with the same exchange:
“You go shopping yet?”
And just like that, we’re good. No competition with the woman whose house was Kosher for Passover a full month ago. No stress from the minivans that drive by delivering whole cows to the neighbors. No worries that our kids are traipsing through the house leaving bread crumbs like Hansel and Gretel a few days before we are going to have to sweep those bits up and burn them outside (the crumbs, not the kids). Our morning coffee conversation is free from the Passover shaming and one-upping that takes place on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat on a daily basis. It is a taste of true freedom.
We’re all in this together. We’re all members of Joy of Kosher and Recipe Insanity, having suddenly been added by that unknown but well-meaning friend. We all know who is having 50 people over at their house. We all know how amazing the projects are from your kids’ schools. And even though it’s a week away, we all know who has already set their table with a creative diorama depicting the splitting of the sea (conveniently posted on Pinterest), and who is getting a head start on the four cups of wine.
This year, I’m going the sane route. I’ll play the game of oohing and ahhing over new recipes but will proudly take out my menus from years past and make the same old thing anyway. Those piles of passover products? The lists of cleaning hacks? The perfect matzah balls artfully posted with a creative filter? Forgive me for not “liking” your post. I’m not buying into it this year. My preparations are not WOD’s that need to be posted like a rabid CrossFit enthusiast. This year, I’m pledging to keep this week before Passover stress free.
But if you happen to be at Costco, can you pick me up some Matzah Meal? The store ran out.