Thinking About Food

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

Food has been on my mind a lot recently. How to eat for good health, educate my kids about food, keep my weight at a healthy level, and most importantly, eat, eat, eat. I love to cook, and I love to eat! Our family shares this “live to eat” mentality, and cooking and family dinnertime is a don’t-miss event in our house.

So, frankly, it’s always been a big turnoff to me to think about giving up chametz, or leavened bread/food for Passover. That’s a lot of food, and a lot of thinking about substitutes. This year, however, I’m thinking about it, either for just myself, or for myself and nine year old if she chooses. I think it would require more than just my suggestion (or even good fodder for a blog) for my husband to do it, and I don’t believe that my six year old can really form the intent needed. Plus, we have a lot of leftover Girl Scout Cookies. So we can’t scour the pantry, but we could take a step toward it, and give up the chametz.

Why do it? I am not sure I have very spiritually formed reasons, but here they are. First, I am here on this journey to figure out my spirituality and guide my children through their journeys, and even though we are more immersed in a Jewish lifestyle than many “born Jewish” folks, we have never taken this step. It feels like we are doing the easy and fun stuff, and not the hard stuff that requires a little bit of sacrifice. Maybe it’s my old Catholic roots calling (wouldn’t that be ironic), but I have never felt comfortable with that idea. Second, while I love to eat, I like the idea of having eating be a more mindful act. I think committing to this path for nine days might be a good way to do that. And finally, I just want to take another step in this journey, however it goes.

Getting practical, after three years of Jewish preschool and four years of Jewish day school, I am pretty comfortable with all of the lunch substitutions to be made. And I’m pretty good with coming up with low-carb dinners for myself, since that helps me maintain a healthy weight. It’s the little stuff that gets me, though—the breakfasts, snacks, cookies, crackers, all the little leaven that fills out our plates. No breakfast cereal, breakfast tacos, or cinnamon toast? No pasta and crackers? Or worse yet, pale and tasteless imitations of the foods that I really like?

So, readers, if you are out there and have any suggestions for me, experiences to relate or any other feedback about giving up the chametz, I’d love to hear from you. And recipes, especially recipes!

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