Celebrating Pesach (Passover) in Chile
It Isn’t Easy, Especially If You’re Not in Santiago
At least, I assume it’s easier in Santiago because there is more of a Jewish population there. Here in Viña, it’s tiny. We’ve been trying to make some contacts, but it’s slow going. So we’re putting together our own little seder, which will look nothing like our usual seder.
The Wine’s Easy, but the Food? Not So Much
In fact I’m getting a head start on our first glass as I type this (though I suspect final posting will be much later, you’ll need pictures). I’ve briefly documented on Facebook my matzo travails, although I must say my second batch turned out better than the first; I may actually be able to pull this off for 8 days, especially because Joel eats lunch at school several days and we’re not really strict being fairly Reform Jews. Eggs are done, no problem. Charoset, well that mostly wasn’t a problem. Apples are grown here and in season, what we lacked was honey. I’m sure you can buy that here, but we just came back from La Serena where they grow a lot of Papaya. While we couldn’t find fresh, we brought back some Papaya, for lack of a better word, syrup. It was very yummy on our pancakes this morning, so I used that instead of honey on the charoset, a little Chilean variant on the traditional.
Turkey, brisket? Not happening. I haven’t seen turkey here, and we have absolutely no way to cook a brisket, even with my incredible improvisational skills with kitchen equipment, or lack thereof. So we cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken at the local grocery store. Sorry. Parsley? Check, but we’re using cilantro because that’s what we have on hand. Horseradish? Nope. Not sure if or where we’d find it. So I think we’re going to use merken, which is more spicy hot than bitter, but again something local and we have on hand. Trust me, it will still be unpleasant when it’s supposed to be.
Oh just wait until you see a picture of what I think is going to be our seder plate. Just. You. Wait. Our matzo will be covered with paper towels because, well, let’s just say when my parents come in a little over a week we’ll probably buy some new hand towels for them to use. Not that what we’re using is unclean, but they’re old and not something I’d want to wrap food in, especially something I put so much effort into just figuring out how to make.
Lucky (or not) for us, Cecile put our haggadah on her computer, so we’ll read from that. I was going for the two minute haggadah (read it, it’s funny), but I’m pretty sure that’s not happening. One disappointing aspect is that it will just be the three of us when we’re used to having guests, often non-Jewish ones. Actually when I lived in El Paso I was generally the only Jew at the table. But it’s an easy holiday to convince people to attend: “You’re REQUIRED to drink four glasses of wine, you sit around telling stories and you eat.”
Hiding the afikomen could be tricky. I know I haven’t given you a whole tour of the apartment, but it’s two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a combined dining room/living room. Not a lot of space to inconspicuously go hide something while the seder continues. Plus most of the good hiding places I wouldn’t necessarily want to put something we’re going to eat later. Ah well, I’ll come up with something. Actually Joel’s in his room, I should hide it now. I know, I know, not traditional, but this year, what is? (Cecile ended up putting it in her shirt pocket. We had a long game of “hotter/colder” before he figured it out. It was funny, would have made a great video.)
Sooo, “Next year in Peoria. Or St. Louis. Whichever.” It’ll definitely be easier.