Monday, March 29, 2010
Passover at the Gratz's
In April 1835, Julia Hoffman, the daughter of Rebeccca's late friend Maria Fenno Hoffman, was visiting with the Gratz's. She wrote to her brother George:
"This week is Passover. It commenced on Monday evening with the Passover supper eaten as it is ordered in the bible with the bitter herbs. At that I was not present as no Christian is permitted to be there. After the first supper we had tea and then portions of the Psalms read in English. For the rest of the week all goes on as usual except that we are eating hard crackers instead of bread. They are like sea biscuits [a kind of cracker eaten by sailors] only made very thin and are really quite good. The modern Jews certainly do not suffer from hard living in this week for there are some very good dishes and cakes invented especially for it. One thing they have called Haroseth which is an intended imitation of brick and mortar and is one of the best kinds of confectionery I have ever tasted."
Rebecca Gratz's recipe for Haroset may survive; if it does turn up in a collection of documents I have just begun to read, I will present it to you before next Passover.
(For more information about Julia Hoffman, see the post dated February 2, 2010. Julia's letter is in the Fenno-Hoffman Papers at the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan.)