I am so excited for Passover this year. The opportunity to celebrate with family and friends is so precious. And for some reason, Passover is becoming one of my favorite holidays (look out Sukkot). We are hosting Seder this year and in the familial distribution of Seder responsibilities, chicken soup is my job. I have made chicken soup many times. But this time I wanted you.
“Mom, parsnips. Why don’t you use parsnips in your soup?” I may or may not have said hello first when I called. Sometimes we did that. Oh how I wanted to pick up the phone and call you. That happens a lot.
Mom, your soup was the best. It is the gold standard to which I hold all chicken soup. Broth that never needed anything extra, the savory taste of slowly cooked stock with carrots for me, and matzo balls that float (never sinkers in our family!). I can see you in the kitchen making it when I close my eyes. I know what pots you used depending on the quantity of soup, and I even remember the secret ingredient.
But, parsnips. Why didn’t you use parsnips?
I have guesses. You never liked cooked carrots and didn’t have any in your soup bowl. I know because you and MY SISTER used to give them to me. Cooked parsnips might have fallen into the “cooked carrot” category for you. I bet your mom didn’t use parsnips and with some recipes, never written down, you made them just as you watched her. Could your soup be her soup? And finally, you liked your soup savory and parsnips may have added too much sweetness for you.
Passover is the opportunity for the annual telling of the sacred narrative of the Jewish people. For thousands of years, our people have performed a version of the rites of the Seder meal, and, like any evolving tradition, there are adaptations and interpretations for the time in which we live.
Mom, your soup might have competition. Because this year the soup has parsnips. I think you’d like it.
Happy Passover. I love you and miss you fiercely,
I love your parsnip story, for many reasons!