Pesach Mission #0 (yes, really!)
Tonight and tomorrow we are celebrating Tu B’shevat and the coming of spring. With spring comes Pesach- the one holiday that strikes fear in the hearts of homemakers everywhere. With Pesach Missions, however, you will fly through the pre-holiday preparations (relatively) stress free.
I used to start the Pesach missions on Shushan Purim. Last year I needed extra time and started one month before. It was a great help and therefore I will continue it this year.
The point of the Pesach missions is to help you get organized. How does being organized save money? By being organized, you are prepared. If you are prepared, you can purchase Pesach foods when prices are low and you have time to cook healthy food instead of running out and buying expensive takeaway.
Back to the mission. Your Tu B’shevat mission is to open your closets, refrigerators and freezers. Take an inventory of your chametz. If you don’t already have a theme for your mishloach manot, see if you can come up with one based on the chametz you have in your house. If you have a lot of flour, you can make mini challot or muffins. Too much cereal? Buy a nice bowl, put cereal in a bag into the bowl, add a spoon and a small carton of UHT milk for a cute kids snack. This year I have a lot of beans and lentils in the house, so I am thinking about making “soup in a jar” mishloach manot such as this one from Back to Her Roots:
The point is not to shove your chametz onto someone else but to take what you have and make it worthy of a gift.
You might notice that my suggestions don’t include junk food. We really don’t need it and if you have kids, you will get and give plenty anyway. I don’t know about you, but I am running around like crazy doing all the things we do on Purim and I never have time to make a quick healthy meal. Therefore I am grateful when someone gives me a mishloach manot filled with appropriate fuel to keep me moving. If you have any other mishloach manot ideas, please let me know!
Soon all of the regular products that you buy will start having KLP hashgacha on them and NOW is the time to buy these items- when they are cheap and/or on sale. For example, many tomato products, jams, and canned fruits and vegetables are already KLP as well as most (if not all) packaged fresh meat.
Those who do not eat kitniyot will have a much harder time finding KLP products early, just as you do right before Pesach. It seems that the companies prefer to write that there might be kitniyot because it is easier than ensuring they don’t. If you always wanted to be Sephardi, are not too attached to the kitniyot tradition or are just curious, I recommend you check out the Kitniyot Liberation Front Facebook page, blog and articles written about them. Their argument is more about Jewish unity and less about kitniyot.
One final remark: realize that there are only 8 weeks until Pesach. Now is the time to STOP buying chametz that you won’t use up in 7-8 weeks. If you plan your dinners in advance, figure out when to serve those 8 packages of corn shnitzel or 12 bags of pasta. If you can’t do it without a revolution on your hands, donate the extras now.
If you can’t wait until Shushan Purim for the first mission, click here.