Bubbes traditions live at seder

Throughout the years, Passover has meant different things to different people. Some anticipate the holiday with joy, because it's a time for families to come together. Often relatives come from great distances to celebrate.

Planning and preparing a multicourse meal can be both a pleasure and a chore. People in traditional households put away their everyday dishes and unpack special ones used during the week's observance. Changing dishes is an opportune time to clean out the cupboards, but of course requires more work.

At our house back when I lived with my parents, sister, Bubbe, aunts and uncles, we didn't anticipate any other family members descending upon us for the holiday; we were already all living there. What we did expect were our assignments, so that all the work wasn't left to the women of the house. Though, in truth, most of it was.

One thing we knew for sure was that we wouldn't be served any new recipes, because an important part of the experience of Passover was eating what we always ate at the seder.

Our menu consisted of homemade gefilte fish (chopped in a large wooden bowl), matzah ball soup (no one has ever made it like Bubbe), roasted chicken, chopped liver made with real homemade shmaltz and for dessert, a sponge cake that was so light it could almost float!

Bubbe, of course, always criticized her own cooking, and we were always quick to ooh and aah over every dish. It was as much a part of the ritual as drinking four cups of wine.

Today in many homes, things are much the same as when I was growing up. The advent of modern appliances, prepared mixes and timesaving recipes make it somewhat easier perhaps, but the spirit is still the same.

I know at my seders I am never quite satisfied with the texture of the matzah balls or the seasoning of the chicken. And yes, my family is required to ooh and aah and say, "it's the best you've ever made!"