[Sca-cooks] Passover cakes

Craig Daniel teucer at pobox.com
Fri Nov 20 09:02:30 PST 2009

On Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 9:35 AM, Susan Lin <susanrlin at gmail.com> wrote:
> Simple is good.  What Adamantius said.

I dunno, I find the discussion of the specifics intriguing -
particularly the way they vary from one community to the next.

It makes me wonder, though, about period Passover. Which of those
rules were in effect when? Obviously, the proscription against
leavening has been present since well before the SCA's period, but at
what time did the rule against kitniot appear among the Ashkenazim?
How old is the Egyptian custom of avoiding chickpeas? How old is the
non-gebrokt restriction, for those that observe it? Were there any
similar traditions found in period Jewish communities that are no
longer practiced?

How about other aspects of passover food? The family whose seder I
attended every year while in college had a tradition of collecting
charoset recipes from around the world, and serving not only the
traditional Ashkenazi apple charoset but also favorites of theirs from
Jewish communities elsewhere, including a really cool North African
(IIRC) version made with dates and plenty of spices. I wonder what
charoset was like among different period Jewish communities. Does any
written documentation about what went into it survive?

For that matter, what about other details of Passover? Would the
details of a very traditional modern Haggadah match those of a period
one? Clearly traditions change - the practice among some Reform
families of putting an orange on the seder plate is an enlightening
example here; since we know exactly when it was introduced and by who,
it's possible to verify that even over a few decades it's changed what
it means to most of the people who do it. But the importance of the
traditions of the past keeps these things from happening very quickly
or very often, so it's only natural that many aspects of the holiday
go back many centuries.

 - Jaume

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