Most of us go to the grocery store with a list of what we need for the coming few days or week. Some of us are better than others at sticking to that list, but if you have a list, you’re already thinking ahead to a certain extent, right?
Even if you’re not by nature a planner, I urge you to do some serious planning when it comes to Passover food. Think about what you’re really going to make every day, what you’ll probably have as leftovers, and what kinds of things you can keep around as snacks. Before you even think about shopping for the holiday, make as comprehensive of a list as you can. Then, when you go shopping, you won’t find yourself filling the cart with new and exciting (and, inevitably, disgusting) Passover products. Also consider that you want to be buying ingredients that you’ll either use up completely within a week, or that you’ll use regularly even if you haven’t finished it by the end of the holiday.
Here are some basics you’ll probably want to get, assuming you eat dairy:
Some various cheeses
Small boxes of matzah, matzah meal, cake meal
Chocolate in some form
Does that look like a short list? That’s because if you plan your week right (and assuming you’re not making your own seders) you can get through the week with those ingredients and a much more intensive trip to the produce section of your grocery store, or farmer’s market.
And here’s the real key to making your Passover successful from year to year: record what you bought, and how much you have left at the end of the holiday. Did you end up never opening that package of dried figs? Did you buy two boxes of matzah and only even opened one? Keep track of what you have left at the end of the holiday so that next year, you’ll know what you really used, and what was wasted.
Keep a notebook of recipes you used (though part of my Keep it Simple mantra means that outside of baking I rarely use recipes on Passover) and keep your shopping list and menu plans in it.
A little discipline in the grocery store, and some forethought means that when Passover arrives you wont’ have to spend hours in the kitchen slaving over elaborate meals and running back to the grocery story for more last minute potato starch. You might be able to go out and actually do some fun things, or just feel significantly less tied to your kitchen. Both of which are, I think, very much in the spirit of the Exodus.
Previously on Preparing for Passing: Keeping it Simple.