It’s already been a week since I was home for Passover? Yesterday was the weekend? I’ve been living in a computer screen vortex since I left home and every time I look up, I feel further from the world outside.
I’m in post-production mode of three different projects. This means I’m finished collecting puzzle pieces and I’m now ready to sort, order and put them together. Thinking about it makes me dizzy.
They aren’t just any puzzle pieces. They’re heavy. They are other people’s stories, but putting them together comes from my own core. Schoolwork feels like therapy sometimes… My emotional state is raw and being home for Passover only intensified that feeling.
Along with the usual Passover routine – cooking, overeating, taking shots of slivovitz, leaning to the left from too much dessert/the Haggadah told us to – we dove into discussions that shook assumptions of my basic values.
Dad asked me to come up with a discussion question for our Seder. Before we recited the ten plagues that Moses inflicted upon the Egyptians, he asked it:
Is inflicting hardship upon others in order to gain freedom justified? Is it always tit for tat? What about preemptory strikes? Blood, locusts, boils, wild beasts, death of the first-born…. Is it easier to commit acts of cruelty when god’s on your side?
I thought the questions would spark good debate, but for the first time in the history of our dinnertime discussions, you and Abe agreed – you and I agreed – Abe and dad agreed – we all agreed (whoa!) that we don’t know what we’re capable of until we’re fighting to survive. We don’t know the answer. We analyze risks and benefits, we act as efficiently as we can, and we don’t look back because we know that we made the most thoughtful, conscious decision possible.
When dad asked the question, I’m guessing that some people had ISIS or Israel and Gaza in mind. Initially, I was thinking about salads (duh) — about how every bite may enable slave labor in Florida’s tomato fields. I also thought about other circumstances in which the stakes feel higher.
I’ve sort of always known that the answer is that we don’t have the answer … That the reason conflicts remain conflicts is that it’s damn easy to be convinced that god is on your side. I’m still fighting with this answer.
The flight is too big for the limited space in my brain right now.
Home already feels like worlds away.
After I left home, I stuck to a completely raw diet for the rest of Passover and LOVED it. It inspired me to play with new foods and I really needed the intestinal catharsis after all that sponge cake (it’s mostly air, it’s mostly air, it’s mostly air… yeah right). It was a good strategy to avoid matzah too.
Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Orange Chia Breakfast Bowl/Parfait
This recipe contains two components that can be eaten on their own or layered together.
Cardamom Coconut Chia Pudding
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- dash of cardamom powder
- honey, maple syrup, other sweetener to taste (optional)
Stir chia seeds into coconut milk and add cardamom. I didn’t add sweetener because I knew I’d be eating it with the plenty sweet chocolate pudding (recipe below). I also kept sweetener out of it so it would more versatile for later breakfasts and snacks. It was perfect topped with a sliced banana.
Raw Orange Scented Chocolate pudding
- 1 medium avocado
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- juice of one orange
- zest of one orange
- ½ cup pitted dates
- tsp vanilla
- ½ cup almond (or coconut) milk
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder
- dash of sea salt
A vitamix or other high powered food processor is necessary here. Dump all ingredients into food processor and puree until smooth. Add more nut milk if needed.
Layer the puddings with orange wedges in bowl or jar. Garnish with crushed hazelnuts and orange zest (and cacao nibs for extra luxury).
Herbed Raw Almond Cheese
- 1 cup almonds
- 3 cups water
- dash of smoked paprika
- ¼ cup onions, finely chopped
- dash dried basil
- fresh black pepper
Soak almonds in water over night. When ready, drain water from almonds and place into food processor. Add another cup of water and puree until frothy and white.
Place cheese cloth over a bowl or jar, and drain the liquid from the almond meal to collect a nice jar of almond milk. Collect remaining almond meal in a separate dish. Stir herbs and spices into almond meal and store in fridge. Get creative with your herbs!
Yogurt, Apple, Sprouts and Nuts Breakfast Bowl:
- 1 apple, chopped
- 3/4 cup plain organic yogurt
- handful of cilantro sprouts
- herbed almond cheese
- curry cashew cream
Stir yogurt into chopped apples. Top with cilantro sprouts, herbed almond cheese and curry cashew cream.
I am going to try preparing this, Shaina. It looks really good. I love the blog. thank you!
Another reference in the Shaina literature. We also agreed that there is never joy in striking others .