Thursday, March 22, 2012

Planning the Second Annual Chocolate Dinner

It's appropriate that my last post was about the Chocolate Dinner I did last year and how I was thinking of making it an annual event, because now it's time to plan the next one. I figure to write a few posts about planning, then a couple about the actual dinner, and then I'll get back to actually keeping this blog up to date.

Right. I just found a rather long draft post about meals for Rosh Hashanah that I never published. Oh, well, it's a bit late now so I'll save it for next year. Maybe. In the meantime, I've decided to go ahead and put this out there as a reminder that I really do want to resume my life.

Because just having a dinner where everything on the menu includes some form of chocolate wasn't complicated enough, this year's Chocolate Dinner will also be a Passover Seder.

Passover imposes one level of complication -- everything has to be kosher for Passover. The short version of that is -- no wheat, oats, spelt, barley, or rye unless it has been prepared in a certain restricted way that insures the grains do not ferment. In addition, because we follow the Ashkenazic tradition, we also do not have certain other foods such as beans, rice, and corn.

The problem these restrictions place on chocolate is that most commercial chocolate includes soy lecithin, which we do not use during Passover. Therefore, all chocolate and chocolate products have to be certified as kosher for Passover.

Then there is the whole issue of having a Chocolate Dinner as a seder. There are certain ritual foods that must be included at a seder -- matzoh, green vegetables, a mixture known as charoset, bitter herbs, salt water for dipping -- and others that must at least be present on the table (a roasted lamb bone, a roasted egg). How do we include chocolate in these items? All will be revealed....

Two levels of complication is not enough, however. A six-year-old friend whose family generally joins us for our seders has recently been diagnosed as allergic to gluten and dairy.

You do remember, don't you, that this blog is about being ovo-lacto vegetarian Jews? So now our Chocolate Dinner cannot include grains, rice, legumes including soy, corn, or dairy products. And everything has to include chocolate.

This is going to be So Much Fun.