March 31, 2017

Spotless and Sneezy

There are several signs that spring is in full bloom – a chorus of sneezing, a chamber of stuffed garbage bags and, hopefully, an empty pantry.

Here in Israel come late March, every plant that can bloom is announcing its presence. Even my lemon tree, still bearing the weight of fruit, is able to produce fragrant blooms.
Seeds are a flight in the wind, like little plankton being tossed about. The pollen is abundant. I know this as both my husband and daughter sneeze loudly from allergies, walking around with a box of Kleenex and scratching at reddened eyes.

And as they sneeze, I stuff. I throw everything out that has no use or little use, attacking the bedrooms and bathrooms before I sigh deeply and attack the kitchen. It is my pre-Pesach spring-cleaning and when the mood to minimize, hits, I strike hard.

Starting right after Purim, I make it a goal to clean out every cupboard and then, for dinner, eat everything sitting on the kitchen shelves. I unearth unlabelled items in the freezer and then put together something that looks like a meal.

“What’s this?” my kids ask.

“Guess,” I say, completely unsure about what we are eating.

They wake up in the morning and know that there will be no cereal for breakfast or bread for lunch. I could never bring myself to buy ‘chometz gamur’ with Pesach looming in my brain.

Today, scratching my head and wondering what to make for Shabbat, I took a look at my pantry. It was bare, except for a few lonely, unappetizing items. 

We are now at the last of our chometz, the grain products that I must dispose of before Passover sets in, which is 11 days from now. (I know, 11 days may seem like a decade for some, but since time flies, it’s around the corner.)

I eye the few bits of cannelloni that have been rattling around in my cupboard for months. And I glance at the few pieces of lasagna that did not make it into the last batch. 


 I googled ‘left over lasagna noodles’ and immediately found a recipe for lasagna muffins. I used the rest of my cardboard-like noodles for lasagna chips.

I then eye the graham crackers and the Quaker oats. What to do? I searched for a graham cracker recipe that excludes the traditional marshmallow and chocolate accompaniments  - we are ‘smores’d out after our many campfires this past winter.

And I quickly found a recipe that actually uses both my oats and crackers to create a cookie dough. What a find! Thrilled, I started to create, rolling out a most unusual dough.

Shabbat is almost here and my creations are now sitting on the dining room table.
“What’s this?” my kids ask.

“Ah choo,” my husband pipes in, blowing trombone-like into his Kleenex.

“Guess,” I reply.

Shabbat shalom from our spotless, sneezy home.

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