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what the Passover Seder means to me.

Let me start by saying that I’m Catholic. I was raised in a Catholic household, went to church on Sunday and wore little pink dresses to Mass every week. I went to Sunday school, had my first communion. The whole bit. And I knew absolutely nothing about the Jewish faith until I went to college.

My freshman roommate was Jewish and our differing religions were only one of the many things we didn’t have in common. But somehow despite all of our differences, we eventually managed to find our place in a new world, make the best of a small dorm room and become the very best of friends.

The first time she asked me to come home with her to celebrate Passover, I must admit I was nervous. I had no idea what to expect and to say that I would be out of my element would be an understatement. But her family welcomed me with open arms and I gladly joined their family table to share in their Seder.

For those of you who may not know, the Passover Seder is a ritual shared by a family which involves the retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. And the Seder feast marks the beginning of Passover, which lasts for seven days. The Seder involves reading passages from the Haggadah and sharing the symbolic foods of the Seder plate, including deviled eggs. And Mrs. Altman’s deviled eggs are always the highlight of the table. Hands down.

Now every time I think of Passover, it’s impossible not to think of these deviled eggs. I wish I could say that there is some secret ingredient in them that makes them so special but there isn’t one. It’s as basic a recipe as it gets. But the trick is that you must use Hellman’s mayonnaise. No other substitute will do.

I’ve come to love the tradition of the Passover Seder and am happy that it has become a part of my life. It’s a time for families to gather and sit down to share a special meal together and celebrate the importance of faith. And a really good deviled egg (or two if you’re lucky) makes it all the better.

deviled eggs | photo by: Karen Covey

Mrs. Altman’s deviled eggs

Increase the recipe as needed for your family get together.

2 eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mayonnaise (Hellman’s brand)
Paprika, for garnish

1. Fill a saucepan with cold water and place on stove. Add eggs, making sure there is enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then peel off shells.
2. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Add yolks to a small bowl along with mayonnaise and mix until smooth and creamy. Place filling inside cavity of eggs and top with paprika.

Makes 4 deviled eggs.

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4 responses to what the Passover Seder means to me.

  • DiDi:

    What a lovely story. It reminds me of my own upbringing since my best friend was a Lutheran and always was invited to my parents house for our Seder. She loved coming.

  • Helen:

    My family welcomed our Catholic best friends/neighbors to Jewish culture, which was exotic to them. It started as polite Seder conversations, but transformed into many years of homemade gefilte fish luncheons. Holidays often overlap, so these friends saved my chocolate Easter egg until it could be eaten after Passover. Happy holidays full of fond memories.

  • My husband is Catholic and he, too, first learned about Passover from his college roommates. I really enjoy learning about what other people have to say and think about this oftentimes challenging holiday. Thank you for sharing your own memories.

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