A Mixed Bag

So let me start by telling you that I celebrate any holiday with good food!

So this year my son flew home Friday March 31st, the first evening of Passover. My son is Jewish. He spent Friday night in the city with friends, and came home Saturday where we were lucky enough to be invited at a seder at my client and good friend’s of 26 years. Might I add, a seder with 70 people, and it was also Stan’s 85 birthday. Well what a great night!

Gail, Stan’s wife, cooked all the food. She cooked for weeks and froze. It was held in the ballroom of her daughter’s clubhouse. Stan led the seder, calling upon people to read from the haggadah. It was a long seder, but so beautiful. The entire evening was so heartwarming and wonderful. They told me we were part of the family and are to be there every year going forward. My son enjoyed beyond!

The next day, Easter Sunday, my son made matzo brei for breakfast and then we visited my mother. She is in full-blown Alzheimer’s. Shane, my son, is so caring and calls her from school and is always wanting to visit her when he is home. For a fleeting moment, I think she knew who he was. We then went for Portuguese food for Easter Sunday at the Valencia restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Wow, was it great! I had clams and garlic sauce and Shane had octopus in a smokey sauce for appies. For dinner, I had grilled skirt steak, and Shane had Chilean sea bass topped with shrimp. Then dessert and cappuccino – amazing meal!

I sadly dropped Shane at the airport after the meal. Until next time!

Now, the following Sunday – Greek Easter. I had been going to my friend Lia’s parent’s house for Greek Easter for at least 20 years. This year, it fell the Sunday after regular Easter. Lia’s mom, Crystal, cooks like you have never seen. All the traditional dishes and Cyprian dishes, as she is from Cyprus. Mega amounts of each dish and we all go home with trays of food. And she also has a big container put aside for me so I can take home my favorite avgolemono soup, a lemon chicken-rice soup. Lia thinks she makes it better. (Not!!)

Most every year, the house is full with friends, aunts, uncles, cousins and more. This year was different. Mom is sick and in pain and going through chemotherapy. We all wanted to do everything but she wouldn’t give it up. Lia cooked a lot of dishes, and so did her sister, Olympia. I made a couple of things, but mom still managed to do a lot.

It was a quiet Easter, as it was just us, the family, and two friends of Olympia’s. It was bittersweet. We had a wonderful day, but mom was not doing well. As I write, the memories of past years flood my mind, bringing tears of joy and now some of sorrow. Mom needs to pass the torch to her daughters and share her wonderful recipes. I am honored to be a part of this family and its traditions for so long, and look forward to the continued relationship. Thank you, Crystal.

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