This year, just in time for your own feast, I’m posting my notes from last year in case you enjoy tormenting your guests and children as much as I do.
Our seder began before we even sat down. You see, on the night before Pesach we hunt for chametz – bits of bread-stuff. So of course a Thanksgiving seder had to include that experience as well. But with all the stuffing around, bread was NOT the target of choice. No, we hunted for… CHOCOLATE!. In this case, we had secreted away some pareve chocolate Hanukkah gelt (we opted for pareve rather than milk chocolate in case some of our kosher-observing guests had already eaten a meat meal before arriving.).
Once we were certain that our house was clear of chocolate, we were able to begin the seder proper with a rousing rendition of America, The Beautiful – all four verses and four (slightly different) choruses, including the one about Pilgrim’s feet (my boys loved that one). You can find the lyrics here.
Next, we said a shehechianu and said the blessings over wine and bread.
We read responsively, sharing the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence together as a group.
That was pretty much the end of the serious stuff. From that point on we borrowed liberally from “Company’s Coming“, with the following additions:
- When we mentioned “The Bitter Herb”, we produced our ancient beloved bottle of Goldschlager. We keep it around because every year when it’s time to read Parsha Ki Tisa, we say we’re going to drink it. We never do.
- We included an explanation of the Thanksgiving Seder plate. Of course, we first had to INVENT the Thanksgiving seder plate. Like the Passover counterpart, this plate contained all the items emblematic of Thanksgiving, including:
- a football
- a figuring of a pilgrim
- Pepper (Passover is all about salt – in the water, in the soup, etc. Let another spice get some attention already!)
- Marshmallows (on top of the candied yams. Nobody in my house ever ate them. It just sat on the table turning into a paperweight.
- nondairy creamer (as a reminder that this is a fleishig meal)
- matzo (to remind us of the joy that this holiday brings since WE DON’T HAVE TO EAT ANY!)
- a cantaloupe
OK, the cantaloupe requires a bit of explanation. One summer, we took a family vacation to visit a friend in Boston. Part of the trip involved going up to Plymouth. But the line to see it’s most famous rock was too long, and the day was already over as far as our kids were concerned. When we expressed our disappointment back at home base, our hostess grabbed a cantaloupe and wrote “1620” on it. She explained that weather and memento-seekers had worn the rock down until it was about that big so we now could say we’d pretty much seen it. Thus, the presence of the cantaloupe on our seder plate.
- After the meal, we had a rousing hunt for – no, not the afikomen – but the wishbone instead!. The finder of this scrumptious morsel won the right to take it home (her parents were so proud) along with a Sacagawea dollar.