Making Passover for the First Time? Here’s What You Need to Know
By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff
You never thought this day would come.
Making Pesach always seemed like something only real adults could manage. And now, somehow, that real adult is you.
Having the responsibility on your shoulders of preparing for Pesach can feel unnerving, anxiety-provoking, and, let’s face it: downright terrifying.
But I’m going to share one life-changing piece of advice my mother told me when I was first learning how to drive, and worried that I’d never figure it out: Just look around and you’ll see — everybody does it!
So, just like the majority of people get their driver’s license, most people eventually end up making Pesach on their own.
You got this.
You just need one thing to get started. And that is… a solid plan of action.
Follow this three-step plan, and you'll have no problem pulling of Pesach.
Step 1. The whole kitchen caboodle
The first step is making sure you have a kosher for Pesach set of everything you’ll need for cooking. The best thing is you only gotta do it once!
Since you’ll only be using the utensils and cookware for a week or so at a time, they’ll last pretty much forever.
Don’t sacrifice quality: Yes, buying a full set of kitchenware at one time is a huge expense. If you might be making Pesach another year and if you're able to spend the money, it's worth it to by higher quality items. You don’t need to buy top-of-the-line stuff, and a couple of things from the dollar store won't hurt either. Just make sure to get better products where you might need them. When you’re preparing a triple batch of potato kugel on erev yom tov, you will not want your vegetable peeler spazzing out on you.
• Cookware set, dairy and meat — what you need will depend on your household (and how much kitchen multitasking you do), but you should be able to get by with one or two larger pots, a small saucepan, and one or two frying pans for meat. For dairy, you should be good with a larger pot and a pan.
• Set of cooking knives, dairy and meat
• Basic cooking implements, dairy and meat
o Ladle, spatula, vegetable peeler, measuring spoons and cups, can opener
• Set of dishes and cutlery, dairy and meat
o You can definitely get away with paper/plastic — just be sure you have enough to last through the holiday.
• Food processor, meat
o I find that many Pesach recipes require a food processor. For a first-time Pesach, especially if you’re not cooking much, a food processor is not required, but will definitely come in handy in the future.
• Hand blender, optional
• Hot water urn
o You may be able to kasher the urn you use during the year.
• Disposable food storage and cookware
o Aluminum pans, plastic containers of different sizes
• Other disposables
o Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic baggies, aluminum pans, napkins, paper towels, hot cups, disposable cutlery, plates, and bowls.
o Hand and dish towels. You may be able to kasher the ones you use during the year.
o Dish liquid, dish gloves, disposable gloves, sponges
Step 2. Food shop (...til you drop!)
I usually split up my Pesach shopping into (at least) two grocery trips — the first in advance for non-perishables, the second closer to Pesach for perishable goods.
Instead of following a ready-made list online (which can include many things your family will never use), create your own shopping list by menu-planning in advance. It sounds overwhelming, but it really helps calm you down to know exactly what you're going to need.
First, grab a notebook.
Then, sit down with your Pesach cookbooks and your favorite recipe sites (try our Kosher.com Passover recipe collection) and plan menus for every single holiday meal, plus breakfast, lunches, and snacks. (You can doing this using our handy pesach printables here!)
Print out or bookmark the recipes you’re going to use so you’ll have them when you’re ready to cook. If printing is an option for you, I'd suggest doing so—there's little more frustrating than doing the part of the recipe that needs to be done before yom tov, and realizing on yom tov that you don't have the recipe for the rest.
Then, carefully look through each recipe and note the ingredients you’ll need.
Finally, create a master shopping list. Arrange your list according to grocery categories so you can whip through the aisles like you’ve been doing this for decades.
o Wine, grape juice
o Fruit juices, seltzer, almond milk
o Meats, poultry, fish
o Dairy: eggs (buy two dozen more than you think you’ll need), milk, yogurt, soft and hard cheeses
o Canned goods, like tuna fish, sardines
o Aluminum pans in all sizes
o Condiments: ketchup, mayo, vinegars, oils
o Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.
o Potatoes and onions
o Fresh fruits and vegetables
Make your life easier: If you can get your Pesach order delivered, do it. It’s way worth the delivery fee and/or tip to avoid the crowds.
Step 3. Round up those seder supplies!
In addition to the seder meals, you’ll need a serious collection of Pesach paraphernalia. But just like the kitchenware, as soon as you build up a stock of these necessary items, you’ll have them for years to come if you ever need them again!
- Wine glasses/bechers
- An extra wine goblet for kos Eliyahu
- Pillows for leaning
- Wine and/or grape juice
- Seder plate and accoutrements
o Maror — romaine and/or ground horseradish
o Roasted shank bone for z’roah
o Hard-boiled egg for baitza
o Vegetable for maror
o Salt water for karpas
o Afikomen bags
Oh, and don’t forget to give yourself one more thing—
A legendary pat on the back. After all, you’re making Pesach. Score one for adulting!