Before her semi-recent narrative on the Passover Seder, Marge Piercy is a writer I knew of primarily as a poet. Her fiery, intense poetry was brought to my attention by a writing teacher when I was a teenager. And so it was with surprise and delight that I learned two years ago of Piercy's light but meaningful piece on the Seder, Pesach For The Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own
If ever a book spoke to an ex-poet/food writer who spent much of her childhood surrounded by Jewish friends and classmates but had little understanding of their traditions, this is it.
Title & Publisher: Pesach for the Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own
, by Marge Piercy. Published by Schocken Books, 2007.
A cozy little hand-sized volume with heft in all departments: poems to satisfy the poet, very clear and sometimes humorous explanations of the Seder, and an impressive number of recipes, all written in a breezy, easy manner. The tone is casual, without taking the topic of the Passover traditions too lightly.
Number of recipes:
Recipes for right now:
What isn't for right now? Passover begins at sundown tonight. Here's a few of my favorites: Cinnamon Lamb, Tarting Up Bought Gefilte Fish, New Mother Soup, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Charosets, Potato Flour Sponge Cake.
If you're a Jew who just can't get enough of the Seder plate and all it's tales, yes. If you're a Gentile who is hungry for a digestible explanation of the whole Passover tradition, yes. Or switch the "Jew" and "Gentile" in those sentences, still yes.
• Buy the book: Pesach for the Rest of Us by Marge Piercy
• Get it for your Kindle and read aloud from it tonight at your Seder!
• Read the first chapter on Marge Piercy's website
More 2009 Book Reviews
• Cooking For Friends
by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm
• Big Food
by Elissa Altman
• Edible Schoolyard
, by Alice Waters
• The River Cottage Meat Book
, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
, by Anne Mendelson
• The New Steak
, by Cree LeFavour
• Cooking For Two
, by Jessica Strand
• A Homemade Life
, by Molly Wizenberg
• Fresh Food From Small Places
, by R. J. Ruppenthal
• Picture Yourself Cooking with Your Kids
, by Beth Sheresh
• Eat Feed Autumn Winter
, by Anne Bramley
• The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet
, by Paulette Mitchell
• Heirloom Beans
, by Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo
(Cover Image: photography by Jackie Alpers, design by Archie Ferguson)