Hag Pesah Sameah!

Wishing everyone a delicious, beautiful, and happy Passover!

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Sephardic women built the Pyramids (and called them mustachudos)

That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows they were built by extraterrestrials…

Whatever your own theory about who built the pyramids (bricks and mortar, bricks and mortar), several hundred years ago my female ancestors chose to commemorate the monumental labor with a monumental Passover cookie: the mustachudo.

 

Mustachudos (hazelnut spice pyramids from Rhodes)

Hazelnut mustachudos (Sephardic spice pyramids)

Any Sephardi whose family came from Rhodes (and a few other places) has some kind of mustachudo recipe. Mustachudos are soft, chewy cookies made from ground nuts. They weren’t always shaped like these neat little pyramids. That’s my doing. Continue reading

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One for the Seder plate: Harosi

Harosi isn’t just for the Seder plate. Make a good one and you’ll find any excuse to eat it.

Malus domestica, from Medizinal-Pflanzed by Franz Eugen Köhler (1897)(This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.)

Malus domestica, from Medizinal-Pflanzed by Franz Eugen Köhler (1897) This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

 

So long as my grandfather was alive, making harosi each year was one of his favorite cooking projects. He made huge batches of it. Vats! At the Seder there were always a few large bowls of it on the table, and on our way home Gramps would gift each family member a jar or two – personalized with our names, and swaddled in acres of paper toweling and rubber bands – so we could keep spreading the love throughout the week of Passover. We spread it on matza. We spread it on cake. On cheese. Over ice cream.  On spoons – it’s great straight from the jar.  Ottoman Sephardim alreay eat spoon sweets, and to us harosi is just one more. Continue reading

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What Do You Do With a Spanish Passport?

There’s an op-ed piece The New York Times this week about Spain’s current offer of citizenship to Sephardim, with a good analysis of the “real” motivation driving the offer. This follows an article that appeared in late January in The Forward, also well worth reading, in which a Sephardic American journalist considered his options, visited Spain, and said “no thanks” to the idea of a Spanish passport.

I wasn’t going to weigh in on this one, but I’ve changed my mind.

The Amateau (Amato) family in Rhodes, 1917

The Amateau (Amato) family in Rhodes, 1917

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