Marking Another Holiday Without Mom
In honor of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) that starts this evening, this blog is dedicated to my Dutch family members who did not survive the long and dark years of WWII.
What a joyous visit we had with Mom this past week. Though we’d been denied visits during Passover because of several COVID cases among the residents, the situation finally improved, and with the end of the mask mandate, visiting restrictions have eased somewhat.
Yes, we sat outside. Yes, we wore masks. Yes, we kept our distance. Yes, our visit was limited to a half hour. But there were five of us visiting Mom at the same time, including our son home for the Passover holiday and daughter who is in from LA. And we had a delightful time.
Mom sang with us and was charmed by her two grandchildren. She warmed to my dad and even knew to call him her husband.
I admit that I didn’t like it when she turned her wrath on me, but it was a small price to pay. In general, she seemed more even-keeled than the last time I’d visited.
We are used to not considering Mom in our daily lives anymore. We are used to her being elsewhere, shut up in her facility—apart, distant, separate. Those small, fleeting visits are so important for us, and hopefully for her, too.
We had a wonderful Passover Seder filled with erudition and laughter. And Mom was with us in spirit enough to convey the strong and wonderful memories we carry with us of her former creative, loving self.
We are entering our 11th year of this disease. May we find our way forward with warmth, song and love.
When Liora arrived home before Passover, she basically took over the kitchen and prepared several dishes, including the main dinner for Seder night. I was instructed to obtain a leg of lamb, and after visiting two butchers, I was able to comply. Her lamb is truly melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and I share here her recipe.
Leg of Lamb
This dish was the hit of our Seder night. It truly melted in our mouths.
1 leg of lamb, approx. 2.5 kilo / 5.5 lbs.
20 small potatoes, whole
2 whole bulbs of garlic, with the top sliced off
15-20 garlic cloves, peeled
10-15 shallots, peeled
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp date honey and/or honey
3-4 twigs fresh rosemary and/or thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Place leg in a large pan. Rub leg with olive oil, honey, mustard and spices. Toss in onions, potatoes and garlic. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan. Cook uncovered for a half hour at 350° F / 180° C, then cover and continue cooking for another 2 hours.