Flybaby Passover Preparations
In preparation for Passover, one must thoroughly clean every part of the house. The purpose is to rid the home of chometz (non-passover substances). Every kitchen cabinet, drawer, oven, stove, microwave must be scoured. Cabinets and drawers must be relined; ovens and stoves must be heated at a very high temp. after cleaning and kept at that temp. for a period of time to assure no residue is remaining. The kitchen counters must be covered with heavy duty foil or some other protective covering. The sink must have a board or other protection against touching the sink itself.
All the dishes, pots and pans, silverware and cooking utensils must be changed for ones used only for Passover. All food products must be removed from the cabinets and refrigerator and replaced with kosher for Passover food. Certain foods are not permissible during Passover and those must be avoided. All bread products as well as other non-permissible foods are removed.
This is a major job and I have learned after being a Flybaby for awhile that even this can be accomplished with babysteps.
I have already begun my chores by concentrating on one room at a time. This month, I have started with the bathrooms. As each zone is approached, I do a little extra to get the areas as clean as possible. This is the one time when “perfection” that nasty word, must be followed. However, by doing a little more than the norm, it isn’t such a challenge as in the past. My house is in pretty good shape thanks to flying. The main challenge is the kitchen, but even there, I have done a few extras so that when I get to the kitchen zone again, I’ll be able to work everything in.
If I tackle one cabinet at a time, one drawer at a time during the other zone areas and just cover the shelves I’ve done, when the time comes, I should be able to remove the covers and put the new liners down and be done. Also, I’ve been keeping my oven pretty clean so that the deep cleaning won’t be so challenging.
This year, is particularly challenging because the first night of Passover falls on Sat. Therefore, everything must be done and changed by Fri. night. That means all cooking, cleaning and changeover must be finished. (One is not permitted to do work on Sat. in the Conservative and Orthodox traditions.)
This is pretty long, but I hope it helps you to understand the preparations that must be undertaken. It’s quite exhausting, but once the holiday starts, it’s wonderful and family oriented. There are special foods and traditions that make memories.
Frankly, I believe that this holiday is what started the whole “spring cleaning” idea.
A Devoted Flybaby from Columbus, OH
I am a Jewish flybaby and since Passover isn’t until the end of April (the Jewish calendar adds an extra month every so many years so it occurs almost a month later than Easter this year) we will have a bit of time.
Preparations for Passover or Pesach actually have to begin early. You have a special set of dishes and glassware and silver unless you use paper and plastic. You have to clean your house thoroughly because you must make sure there are no forbidden grain products in your home for the duration. So this is a major cleaning which means washing out cupboards and drawers to clean out all those crumbs that seem to magically reproduce.
Cooking is another thing all together. All your pots and pans have to be “kashered” or cleaned thoroughly by soaking or boiling in hot water. You will have a set for meat and a set for milk dishes. These cannot be interchanged. This is if you keep a kosher kitchen.
Even if you don’t keep kosher you will be cooking differently for the 8 days of Passover. You cannot use any grains including corn, wheat, rice or barley. We eat a lot of matzah and things made with matzah which is not the most appetizing of cracker type bread. Eggs are very prevalent and potatoes. Most Jewish cooks will make a lot of dishes before hand and freeze them for use during the festival. Interestingly enough…you cannot use vanilla or other alcohol based flavorings because they are made from grain that is forbidden during Passover. Even soft drinks have to be certified “kosher for Passover” because they can contain corn syrup.
All your “hamatez” or forbidden grains and things containing the forbidden grains can be packed up and “sold” to a non-Jew for the duration of Passover so you don’t have to throw away good food but it has to be packed so that you can’t “accidentally” use it.
Flourless desserts and cake recipes are always welcome for this time of year because you can only eat so much matzah and cream cheese or butter. Macaroons are popular at this time of year because they don’t have flour. Some cakes can be made using matzah cake flour or meal. This is made by grinding matzah finely but it still has a very bland taste and an odd consistency.
Here in Kentucky if you don’t get your Passover mixes at the grocery at least a month in advance you won’t find anything left. They are expensive and don’t taste all that good but it beats not having anything.
Sue from Ky.
Dear Flylady & Crew:
Passover, for observant Jews is a whole other story. We clean the house from top to bottom.
All the surfaces are vacuumed (crumbs….not allowed). We detail the inside to get those cheerios and other crumbs out before the holiday.
Last but not least, is the kitchen. People change over their entire kitchen – they use only passover dishes and food marked U in a circle with a P for Passover. No bread, corn, peas, rice, beans, flour, leavening, no corn syrup, no vanilla bean, for basics.
So…….one needs to pack up all the regular dishes and put them in the basement. Give away the food that is not kosher for Passover. Clean the kitchen for Passover including the dishwasher, oven, sink, counter tops and microwave. Bring up the Passover dishes, cutlery, appliances, etc. Prepare a seder meal for two nights for however many people are coming; continue cooking without any of your usual foods for 8 days and then pack up everything and restore the kitchen to its normal order.
If one waits until the last minute, most of the more popular Passover items are long gone from the shelves (not good). If one waits until the last minute, the line at the butcher is out of the door as is the line at the bakery. (also not good). The relatives will all arrive exactly on time whether one is ready or not………… so,
As you can imagine, there are the Born Organized who are already cleaning their basements for Passover. And then there are the rest of us, waiting for the other shoe to drop……..
Flying more or less in New York City
I’ve been reading and flying for about 8 months now, and never thought that I could tell YOU something, but if you want some information about cleaning for Passover, here goes:
The object of Passover cleaning is to get all of the Leavening out of the house. This means, all bread products, flour, yeast etc. as well as any processed foods not prepared especially for Passover. (note: according to tradition, the leavening reminds us of our “puffiness”, our puffed-up attitudes. You might call this “stinkin thinkin”). While one would think that this would involve only the kitchen, all of the areas of the house could potentially contain crumbs. For example, pockets must be checked, closet floors vacuumed, purses cleaned out. (This is a 2700 fling boogie!) I think that the missions are a very good way to do Passover cleaning. It is traditional to start the cleaning a month in advance, which coincides with the holiday of Purim (this Thursday night and Friday). One should clean from the places farthest from the kitchen into the biggest hot zone of them all, the kitchen. The last week is very hectic, trying to cook non Passover food as well as clearing everything out, and preparing for the Seder where all the food must be Kosher for Passover. Hope this was helpful,
Flying in NJ
Preparation for Passover is twofold. A general thorough Spring cleaning of the whole house. Maybe some painting or new curtains. These kind of non food related plans should be done before the holiday of Purim. The holiday of Tu B’Shevat (which was January 25th this year) is the time when general cleaning can be done. The next holiday is Purim, this year it was on March 27th. Now is the time to do intense cleaning of all areas where food is eaten throughout the year.
And food that has leavening in it, such as bread, cake, and noodles are forbidden. Any crumbs left behind from these foods which have been used during the rest of the year must be cleaned away. Foods that contain flour and packaged foods that do not have kosher certification that they may be used on Passover must be locked in a cabinet for the duration of the holiday.
Some of the tools we use to prepare food during the year may be cleaned and used for Passover or glasses, plates, pots and pans, tableware may be stored in between times. The best way to learn how to kasher glassware and other kitchen items is to consult a rabbi who you trust. There are rabbis at www.askmoses.com who will answer questions.
The shelves of the refrigerator must be lined. I use heavy duty aluminum foil with some slits cut in it to allow for circulation of the cold air.
The counters in the kitchen should be covered for the holiday. Some people use rolls of paper which is taped down. I use vinyl cut to fit.
The sink should be cleaned by using drain cleaner the night before. Then a stainless steel sink can be kashered by pouring boiling water on all sides of it after it has been scrubbed well. A porcelain sink can be lined with contact paper. I use heavy duty aluminum foil and duct tape.
An electric oven can be sent through its cycle to kasher it. The cook top must be cleaned. Some people have new inserts to replace the usual drip pans. The heating element must be turned up until it glows red hot, then allow it to cool. Don’t do them all at once; it gets hot!
I cover the stove top with heavy duty aluminum foil with spaces cut out for the burners to emerge.
Some of the cooking can be done ahead of time. Gefilte fish can be prepared and chill in the refrigerator. But the sink and stove must be cleaned and covered as above. I find it a lot of work to try to prepare the kitchen more than once.
The dinner for the seder will be on April 23rd this year which is a Friday. All the food for Friday’s dinner, the breakfast and lunch on Saturday and the evening meal for the seder on Saturday night must all be fully prepared by sundown on Friday. This is the part where I really need Leanne and Marla.
Food information: One year the supermarket featured a recipe which they thought appropriate for a seder: a leg of lamb. This created a mini scandal. Lamb is the meat of the sacrifice that was done in the Holy Temple. Lamb is never used for a dish to be eaten at the seder. Furthermore, leg of lamb, leg of veal, the whole rear section of a cow is not Kosher at all. We can’t use rump roast.
Plenty of new food is brought into the house. For all the meals which must be planned.
I make a chart and try to plug in the various menu suggestions. But a Friday start to the holiday created additional difficulties. Preparation time is limited. I would clean an area on the counter or table and chop all the carrots and all the onions, an so forth the day before and store them in plastic bags.
I would be glad to help you and I appreciate your willingness to learn about the customs and details that go into the preparation. I will be glad to answer any questions as this was just an overview.
I don’t know if you’re aware, but the biggest thing about Passover is cleaning ! Yep, you heard me right! No leavened bread allowed anywhere on Passover, so that means cookie crumbs, gravy drips on the wall, even certain shampoos with wheat derivatives have to be completely purged! Every April it’s time to go Meshugana (crazy!) over the littlest possible atom of leaven! As my family comes from the stricter form of Judaism, you can imagine what it was like for me as a SHE growing up. About a month before Passover, my BO mother would start sending me to my room to clean for Passover. So, being the SHE that I am, I ignored common sense – only clean where food could have been – I’d take out every drawer in my dresser, empty all contents on to my bed, and vacuum and 409 the drawers!!! Of course, there was no leaven in my drawers, but you know how SHEs can be!! After about 20 minutes I would give up and end up staring at the wall for two hours, then I would start crying because of feeling so overwhelmed, then my mother would come and yell at me for the terrible mess I was making. Needless to say, my memories of Passover weren’t that liberating. Thank goodness I found you! This year:
1) I’m not even cleaning my room for Passover this year – I don’t eat in there, so why should I? None of the bedrooms are on my “hit list,” with no little kids, there’s been no food in their for a long time!
2) Kitchen – by the time Passover comes it usually resembles a space station! All surfaces need to be wiped down, all utensils locked away, oven and refrigerator scrubbed, all surfaces covered (we use aluminum foil – thus the space station look-it’s retro!), and new utensils – special for Passover and saved from year to year – brought out. Can you say SHE trap??!!! In past years I waited till three days before to start on the kitchen! It ended up being complete all-nighters! Not this year! Slow and steady wins the race!!
3) Dining Room – my mother used to make us take out every article from the breakfront and scrub it down, scrub down all the inside surfaces, put it all back in, and scrub the outside. Why? It’s clean when you put it in! How could the walls get dirty? Beats me! All I’m doing this year is wiping down the outside and closing it off with masking tape! Floors washed, table covered, furniture polished, The End!
4) Basement – we never eat down there, what’s to do?
5) Laundry Room – floor around the washer should be washed, cuz we shake out the tablecloth there. That’s it!!
This year, I’m starting this Sunday, exactly one month before Passover, I’ll be doing 15 Minute Passover missions! No all night turn over the kitchen for me!! No mad dash through the bathroom cabinet with the Passover list trying to figure out if I need to buy different soap! I’ll be able to go into the holiday rested and refreshed!
So my one-line bit of advice to you all for Passover is, as in life, Don’t go crazy!
As for the food, I’m not cooking this year, so I don’t have much to say on that subject except-good luck!
Flying and Cleaning in MD
Maybe you’ve heard this through other members, but I’ll share this with you anyway.
Passover is the time that Jews clean out their houses from Top -to- Bottom. Not all do it, but it is traditional to do this. Also at this time, all food is disposed of by one of three ways: Eat it NOW before Passover, Donate it, or Toss it. I’m not observant so I have never participated in this custom, but I know my sister-in-law who is Orthodox lives by these rules and experiences a wonderful feeling of Flying (although she doesn’t know the acronym:) right before our holiday.
I now understand exactly why she enjoys all the effort to clean out before each Passover. Having been a SHE, it always seemed like too much effort, but now that I FLY and only have the basics except for what goes on the shopping list for the weeks’ menus, I will really enjoy my holiday in traditional fashion this year.
Thank you for helping me FLY in my faith – I’m excited to show my children one of our customs.
Audrey from Needham.
I just wanted you to know about a custom we Jewish women have had for the past 5,000 years. It has to do with Passover, which is coming up at the end of April. Most of us absolutely dread it, because we have to clean our homes from top to bottom looking for chametz, which is anything with yeast or leaven in it. All leaven must be removed from the home for 8 days. However, I’m not dreading it this year. I’ve taken your “get ready for the holidays” tools from last November’s emails, and I’ve already started taking baby steps toward the “big day.”
Thanks for all your great advice, and may the L-rd continue to richly bless you and your crew.
Flight Student in Texas