Bitter Greens

By , April 12, 2017

We held an odd conversation yesterday at the breakfast table. It’s Passover, the Jewish observance that Michelle and I, raised Protestant Christian, know a little bit about only because of the connections between Passover and Easter.

If you weren’t raised in one of these traditions, I won’t go into it, other than to briefly mention that the events associated with Easter played out over Passover according to the Christian Bible. You can learn about Passover elsewhere, including this article.

Michelle and I have both participated in various “Seder” meals—in quotes, as they were church sponsored recreations of the Jewish tradition, conducted as educational and ecumenical outreach. To me, it seemed similar to a bunch of Anglo-Americans trying to recreate a Choctaw naming ceremony, but don’t get me started down that road . . . .

Our conversation dwelt on the Maror, the bitter herbs eaten during the meal to represent the bitterness of slavery. What, exactly, qualifies as “bitter herbs” left us a bit baffled, particularly since the conversation started with our shared anticipation of and speculation on when we might expect dandelion greens to develop on our homestead (see Dandelions).

We wonder just how bitter herbs would have to get to have the emotional impact of Maror on a wild-crafting family such as ours. Most wild greens taste strong, if not bitter, and take some getting used to.

Curious as to what herbs are traditionally used, I looked up Maror on line. Ironically, as I read, my mouth began to water!

The article listed romaine lettuce, horseradish, and endive as traditional Maror. To me, these sound like a really tasty salad. Garden grown salad, as opposed to wildcrafted, at that! Even dipped in vinegar (which appears to be a Christian “Seder” practice, not traditional) sounds good to us.

Now, please don’t look for offense here—I mean none. I just find it interesting that the ancient saying: “there is no disputing taste” holds so true. In our family, at least, we not only eat bitter herbs whenever we can, we actually miss them when we can’t!


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