You’ve done this dozens of times before. You watched your mom and bubbe prepare for Pesach when you were a child. So, chances are you’ve got things covered. But in case you don’t, food writer, lecturer and kosher cooking instructor Joan Kekst has some great ideas to help ease your Passover anxiety. (Unfortunately, she has no advice on how to deal with crazy Uncle Leon!)
One Week Ahead
Schedule and complete major cooking to freeze. Make extra ice. Purchase vegetable staples, potatoes, onions, carrots, dried fruits, nuts, soda pop. Line storage cabinets and counters; clean refrigerator; reserve area for hametz. Wash Passover pots/pans, dishes, flatware, candlesticks, Seder plate.
Five Days Ahead
Consult your rabbi to sell your hametz. Purchase least perishable fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, Seder plate items. Make horseradish, bake cookies-freeze or store airtight; make fruit compote. Shift furniture to accommodate extra tables and chairs. Prepare rooms for out-of-town guests.
One to Three Days Ahead
Use up all open hametz, except crumbs for ceremonial search. Let children place extra chairs, spread cloths on tables, set out dishes. Complete baking, partially prepare long-cooking items, chill to reheat, store airtight or freeze. Make gefilte or other fish; mix batter for matzoh balls, chill overnight. Purchase last-minute perishable vegetables and fruits. Fill and cork wine decanters; defrost frozen items in refrigerator.
On the Seder Day
Burn hametz; none should be eaten after 10 a.m. the Seder day. Roast bone and egg for Seder plate, hard-boil eggs for salt water, make haroset. Prepare fresh vegetables and fruits, frost cakes, boil matzoh balls. Set food on platters, cover and refrigerate. Plan oven timing to heat food. Save one hour to bathe and rest! Keep an inventory for next year.