52 Comments

    • Thank you. You’re one of my fav silent readers. 🙂 And have taught me so much about food and its rituals and the importance of writing. So thank you for that.

  1. Both these dishes look and sound delicious, Amanda. I did not experience Passover Seder as a child (because I was raised Catholic), but have been participating in Seders for the last decade of my adult life. The Passover Seder we attend usually lasts six hours (“abridged” by some standards). I quite enjoy the food at the Seder we attend, not insipid at all, and always reminds me of how lucky I am. Food has such power, always reminding us of family and friends and events, just as you remarked. I look forward to making these meatballs (my favorite food). I wish you a Happy Passover!

  2. Wow, both the recipes look and sound delicious, Amanda. I love the pineapple in the meatballs, and the mixture of zhoug + goat cheese combination to top the sweet potatoes. I’ve never celebrated a Jewish Passover in my entire life, but I really enjoyed reading about your memories of it. Memories of family and friend gatherings around a feast are always nice. I always anticipate Easter every year, as it is one of the several times a year we all gather and celebrate… oh and eat too, of course. I cannot wait for Sunday to stuff myself with my mom’s Kulich and Pascha!

    • I expect a full report! I love reading about your mom’s Russian food. I also like hearing about other people’s traditions so it’ll be an exciting Sunday 🙂 Thanks for your comment. Maybe one year you can come to my seder! Or better yet, we can make one together in France!

  3. susan frieman

    Seriously love these recipes Amanda. I can’t wait to try them. Come visit us. We would love to have you down in Florida.

    • OMG I’d love to, Aunt Susan. I need a break from this rainy cold weather! And you’re a great cook, so I’d maybe bring some stuff and then let you cook for me 🙂

  4. Amanda, this is such a poignant thought and elegantly written. As children, we really don’t know what we don’t know and that can be magical. I think of the saying ” through the eyes of a child” and wish that, sometimes, it was easier to view life that way. I love reliving the special memories of food and gathering when I was young and your recollection was truly moving. Thank you for such a beautiful read. I think that toe of celebration would be wonderful (I’ve never experienced Seder.

    The food looks wonderful too and I am a sucker for a good meatball.

    • Thanks a lot, Stacy. It’s true. There is something magical about childhood. I recently read a short story written from the view of a child and it really illuminated that for me. A seder can be a lot of fun. There’s a lot of singing and symbolism. It’s a combination of deprivation and joy. I too am a sucker for meatballs of all kinds.:) Thanks for your kind comment.

  5. those colors positively pop! What amazing recipes, and also amazing that they bring back such strong memories. Agreed that it’s all about the marching forward, but how lucky we are if we have food memories that tie us back 🙂 Thanks for sharing your stories.

    • Really great observation, Liz. I totally agree. Thanks for reading. Love your cake btw. That’s something that will stick in your memory as a kid 🙂

  6. Amanda, WOW. Your memories and story touch me. You clearly have wonderful family and some amazing times with them over the holidays and through the years. That is such a priceless thing. Greg is gone most of Passover, and I don’t really know other Jewish people here, so we are not having Seders. Very sad! Maybe I will make some of your recipes, just for myself and the kids. The sweet potatoes with goat cheese sound just up my alley. We love the same foods. And you know how I feel about beets. Another outstanding post, Amada.

    • Thanks, Shanna. I know that this experience wasn’t everyone’s and it wasn’t even mine all the time. We had plenty of family drama, but that’s what creating your own community is all about (as we do here or with your kids). This year I didn’t go to a seder…it was just me and my non-Jewish Colombian husband. I think that’s why the nostalgia hit so hard. So I made these, for myself really and with hope that maybe I can pass this on one day and be someone’s tree, like you are. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jovina. It was refreshing to see new cool influences. I like when people start to write about the holidays, the good and the bad. It’s so interesting to me.

  7. Lovely story, Amanda. Thank you for sharing. The sweet and sour meatballs are similar to our sweet and sour meatballs. The only difference is the pineapple are not added in the meatballs but we infused the meatballs by cooking them with pineapple juice and its flesh; absolutely yummy! I’m getting hungry just talking about it. 😀 Have a great passover. 🙂 By the way, stunning photos. <3 ! 🙂

  8. Maybe I’m prop fanatical, but I kept thinking how nice that pierced spoon is! Or maybe it’s just me being superficial, as usual. And I also really like the last photo. You always have such good shots of ingredients. Something I never do. As my kitchen is too tiny to care.
    Loving the idea of pineapple in meatballs. Although I don’t really do meatballs. Pineapple and cream is a favourite. Must buy them in for Easter.

    • Thanks, johnny. You just have a good eye. That spoon belonged to my great grandmother who brought it overt to America from Russia at the turn if the century. My grandma gave it to me. This was my first time using it. Good eye. Meatballs were something she loved too.

  9. Oh Amanda, all looks so very yummy. I just got a tip from tinywhitecottage about your latest and we need to make this soon: 1 sweet potato in the basket, yipeeh. Bookmarked meatballs, too. Happy Easter. N.

    • Oh I’m so glad you stopped by because it allowed me to see your beautiful turkey meatballs! They look amazing. You will like the sweet potatoes. Your hot cross buns look so good too 😉 happy Easter to you!

  10. Wonderful post, Amanda, and interesting proposition. If given the chance, would any of us go back to the time of a favorite memory? I think most would agree with you. Yes, for a short while but not for good. The sacrifice would be too great and there’s no guarantee that we’ll end up where we are now. The dishes you prepared sound delicious. I especially like the sweet and sour meatballs. And I’ll echo Michelle, this post was so very well photographed.

    • Thank you, Chgojohn. I’m glad that you shirt off think like I do. I propose ridiculous hypothetically to myself all the time. I think my responses are usually sane. I really likrd your post on lamb shanks. It sounds line your mom knew a thing or two about ritual meals. I’m going to try to do a lamb shank soon. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  11. you have a beautiful blog! so happy to have discovered it.
    I celebrate passover and the seders, which are complete with my family, grandparents and cousins, are something i look forward to all year and have wonderful memories from. we usually make more traditional food (chicken soup, roast, matza balls) but this looks like just the thing to shake up routine a little!
    happy passover!

    • Thanks for your lovely comment, Chaya! This was definitely a change up, but I’ve been making matzoh meal pancakes and brownies too. I was thinking of even trying my hand at horse radish but I’m still traumatized by it. The seder really is a lively and lovely gathering. So happy you stopped by.

  12. Amanda, I made your dinner for Easter. When I originally read your post I was feeling really uninspired and didn’t know what I wanted to make for Easter dinner. After reading your post and seeing your recipes I lit up and without hesitation decided to make both your sweet and sour meatballs and the sweet potatoes. It was fantastic! We all loved it. Your recipe was perfectly written and easy to follow. I followed it without any adaptations and it was flawless. Eventually I would really like to have both recipes in my repertoire. If it is ok with you I would like to post them at one point, giving you full credit of course! Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s meatball recipe!

    • Aw you are so sweet. You just made my night. Truly. The James kitchen stopped by and said you sent her my link in response to her delicious meatball recipe, which was so sweet of you. I’m so glad it was easy to follow and turned out well. I’d love to see your posts and pics read all about it. You’re a great story teller. Recipes are meant to be shared. Xox Thanks again.

  13. This is beautiful, seriously. I love everything about your post, from the photography to the meaningful words. I’ve actually never made meatballs at home but I made tomato sauce last week so it might be time that I change that. Your recipe looks super tasty, as does the sweet potato dish. I hadn’t heard of zhoug before so I’m going to hunt some out on the weekend. Sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing this with us xx

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