March 27, 2012

The Nonovore’s Dilemma

We’re having a Seder at our house this year, which is lovely.  Two families are joining us, which is even lovelier.

One is the family of my dear friend, Tara, about whom I’ve written in the past.  It’s beyond delightful that she now lives 15 minutes away.  She’s coming with her husband and two children.  Wonderful, charming, picky children.  OK, picky I can handle.  I can do picky.  In fact, I can do picky vegetarians.  I can handle two little picky vegetarians, in addition to my picky vegetarian.  (Did I mention Zach has gone vegetarian, which makes almost no difference to his diet?)

The other family is a close college friend and her daughter.  Also picky.  And kosher.  That’s OK, I can handle picky, vegetarian, and kosher.  With serious food allergies.

On Passover.

So all I need to do is design a menu with no nuts, sesame, meat, leavened bread, or flour.  With something that appeals to three children who eat nothing but bread and peanut butter and another who mostly likes hamburgers.

I’ll be accepting any and all advice, here.

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  • Reply Antropologa March 27, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Just put some veggies and fruit and matzoh out for the kids and make regular Seder stuff for the adults?

  • Reply lifeineden March 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Fruit? Lots and lots of fruit?
    good luck! 🙂

  • Reply Brigid March 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Ha. I’m with LifeinEden. Fruit. And maybe sweet potato fries and kale chips.

  • Reply Móna Wise March 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    We have a recipe for deep fried PBJ sandwiches that would go down a treat for your dessert…
    Good luck Emily – I am sure it will be glorious and especially wonderful to have your dear friends at your table.

  • Reply alejna March 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I’m afraid I have little to offer in terms of help, but I am highly entertained by your post title.

    How do they feel about eggs? I wonder if something sort of French-toast like but with matzo would appeal, and sneak in a bit of protein. (Of course, if you are dealing with vegans, this is not a helpful suggestion.)

    Good luck to you! And may this seemingly impossible scenario at least bring you inspiration for your writing.

  • Reply emily March 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Crap, did I forget to mention that only two of the kids eat veggies and only one more eats fruit?

  • Reply Kris March 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    This sounds like an expansion chapter for your book! 😉

  • Reply magpie March 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Matzo brei!

    • Reply emily March 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Egg allergies on two kids, and the rest won’t eat it.

  • Reply niobe March 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Well, I’ve always found that a seder (especially for kids) isn’t really about the food. Though most kids (if not their parents) do appreciate the extra-sugary desserts.

    I would concentrate more on finding something the adults can eat. I suppose the allergies (depending on severity) are a further limiting factor in what you can serve to the adults, though, obviously, you probably wouldn’t be serving peanuts or sesame during Passover anyway.

    Luckily, most vegetarian meals (plus, of course, kashered plates and utensils) are pretty much automatically kosher. Unless your friends are really observant, in which case certain fruits and vegatables would be problematic.

    We’re vegetarians and generally eat lots of potatoes and quinoa (though I realize that there’s some debate about its kosher-for-Passover status) during Passover.

    • Reply emily March 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Yes, I’m thinking this is going to force me to get to know quinoa better.

      • Reply Tina March 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        Is cheese ok? Here is a yummy quinoa recipe that I make pretty often:

        My kids (who I would classify as “on the picky side”) seem to generally like it, especially if I leave the onions out for them. It does call for eggs but I kind of think it would still be tasty without them, particularly if you upped the cheese content. I usually make it with red quinoa (or a mixture) – I’ve found that works better than white quinoa. Anyhow, it might be a starting point.

        • Reply emily March 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm

          I was actually thinking of doing something like this with quinoa this week!

  • Reply Deena March 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Vegetarian Matzoh ball soup, Assorted Roasted Veggies, egg souffle for those without egg allergies (this egg allergy thing is tripping me up), mixed green salad with some beans….
    All I can say is good luck! And let us know how it goes. 🙂

    • Reply Deena March 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Uggg.. just realized that you need eggs to make the matzoh balls …. vegetable soup with rice?

  • Reply Becky Schenker March 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    We often serve three types of salad instead of a main dish. If we are going to have a main dish, it’s often fish; most self-proclaimed vegetarians do in fact eat fish. I often make two soups, one chicken, one not-chicken. Matzoh balls are a problem, the best substitutes use almond flour. Again, maybe two types, almond flour dumplings for the gluten-free and matzoh balls for the nut-free. And forget about anything resembling a matzoh ball for anyone who is both gluten-free and nut-allergic.

    Also, as far as I’m concerned, at Pesach all vegetarians are Sephardic and eat beans and legumes.

  • Reply Catie March 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Could you get away with an unleavened chickpea bread?

  • Reply Lilian Nattel March 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Because we’re vegetarian, we follow the Sephardic tradition, which includes rice and legumes as Passover foods. I’d go for that (surely you or your h or your friends have an ancestor that hails from Spain, the Middle-East or North Africa?). Barring that–eggs, cheese, matzah, cream cheese and tomatoes or cucumbers, omelettes, matzah-bra (aka fried matzah). Oh and potatoes. Oven baked potato wedges drizzled with olive oil (and rosemary if they’ll tolerate it)? My kids like those with ketchup.

  • Reply Lilian Nattel March 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I see that I agree with Becky on the Sephardic front–though we don’t eat fish at all. Vegetarian = eating nothing with eyes except potatoes. (I do know people who will say they’re mostly vegetarian who eat fish occasionally. But I’m always surprised when people ask me if I eat fish after I’ve said I’m a vegetarian.)

  • Reply Catherine March 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Look on the bright side – the part where they have to eat something yucky (bitter) to remember the hard times should be a cinch to choose! 🙂

  • Reply niobe March 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I have no idea if they’re any good, but I saw this article about kid-friendly passover recipes and thought of you.

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