Approximately four hours from now, I plan to go out to dinner with my wife.
This may not seem like a big deal, but believe me, it is. Passover will finally end at sundown today. After eight days of eating vegetables, fruit and hard, dry matzo, I am so ready to eat some decent food.
Now, you may say that vegans never eat any decent food. This is the farthest thing from the truth. But the religious dietary rules of Passover, which are difficult to follow for even dedicated carnivores, make putting together a proper vegan meal a real challenge.
So what do I look forward to eating? Some protein, for one. I now know that it’s possible to go eight days with virtually no protein, but it’s not exactly a thrill ride. I definitely see a veggie burger and French fries in my immediate future.
It always takes me by surprise how things are honored in the breach. We don’t really appreciate the good things in our lives until they’re gone. Even things as simple as a toasted bagel.
So I’d like my soy products back, please. And my legumes and my grains and my vinegar, too. I think it’s time to buy a big block of super firm tofu. I’m ready to toss a handful of green olives on my salad again, to indulge in a juicy, salty dill pickle and to eat a big bowl of oatmeal with soy milk for breakfast. I want to find a loaf of crusty bread and slather it from here to tomorrow with hummus. I want to make myself a bean burrito. I want to enjoy a big bowl of tomato soup with rice and a plate piled high with spaghetti. And I want my coconut milk “ice cream” for dessert.
I just hope that the transition back to my usual eating patterns doesn’t mess up my stomach too badly. When you’re on diabetes medication, take it from me that any change in diet throws your gastrointestinal tract into fits that can reach epic proportions.
Today I marked the last day of Passover by preparing a feast of leftovers. Just as we sweep all the hametz (leavened food items) out of our homes before the holiday, it is now time to get rid of what remains of the Passover food and return to your regularly scheduled program.
Passover is our festival of freedom, during which we celebrate our liberation from 400 years of slavery in ancient Egypt. I like the idea that it is an opportunity to free ourselves from the bad patterns of action into which we have fallen, to break the bonds that enchain us to unproductive behaviors. When it comes to food, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all have habits that could stand to be broken. But that doesn’t make the absence of our favorite foods any easier to bear.
It looks like I’ve made it through another Passover. But I’ll risk irreverence by saying that I won’t miss it when it’s gone.