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Thursday, September 3, 2015

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Food sensitivities at seder

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Dear Ella,

Passover is around the corner, and although I love hosting the seder, this year brings some extra challenges.

Besides kashrut, I must concern myself with my diabetic bubbie, a vegetarian sister, a dear friend whose son has a peanut allergy, and another friend who only eats gluten-free.

I used to be able to buy some prepared foods to help with the meal, but I can’t take that chance this year. I don’t know where to begin. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Seder Food Limitations


Dear Seder Food Limitations

It’s a good thing you’re starting early, because you’ll need to do some extreme planning.

I suggest the first thing to do is to talk with your guests and find out if they have any suggestions. They’re used to cooking for themselves and may have some helpful hints or easy recipes to get you through this. Once you have compiled a list, go through it and see which of the recipes will fulfil as many of the limitations you are challenged with. The one rule you must not veer from is nothing on the table, or even in your home if possible, should contain nuts. The peanut allergy is too serious to take a chance.

Use a cookbook that has nutritional information, so you can make sure you are in line with carbs and fats for bubbie. The Internet is also an amazing resource. Let me get you started.

From Norene Gilletz,

and from Kids with Food Allergies, 

If kitniyot isn’t a problem, then quinoa is a great alternative. Nut-free charoset recipes are in abundance on the Internet, as are gluten-free kugels and matzah ball recipes. Remember that meat eaters also enjoy vegetarian sides.

Now that you’ve done some research, create a menu and make your shopping list. If you take your time in the planning stages, you’ll sail through this.

Before the meal is served, tell people which dishes are vegetarian, gluten-free low carb, etc., and you can announce that everything is nut-free.  That way everyone’s dietary limitations don’t have to take control of the seder-table conversation.

You’ve been the ultimate concerned hostess. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Now your guests can truly sit back and enjoy the true meaning of celebrating Passover together with family and friends.

Dear Ella,

Mark and I have been dating for more than six months. We met on JDate and clicked from the first coffee date we shared.

Yesterday, I picked up his phone (which is identical to mine) and noticed emails that popped in from JDate. I am shocked and upset that he has not removed his profile, as I certainly have. I’m not sure what to do with this information. I don’t want to seem like the jealous type, but I don’t think this is right. Do you?

JDate Jilted


Dear JDate Jilted

It’s too early to freak out. You haven’t had a conversation yet. Be honest and in a calm and unemotional tone, tell Mark you picked up his phone by mistake and noticed emails from JDate, then let him take over the conversation.

Does he begin to hem and haw? Is he squirming and sweating like he was just caught? Or does he laugh it off with a plausible explanation like maybe he was just going to let his membership lapse on its own.

If you want a serious relationship, then no subject should be off the table, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be.

A good relationship is open and honest, and at six months you should know your boyfriend well enough to understand if this move was intentional, an oversight, or an all-out lie about what the two of you share.

Stop stewing and start talking. The harder the conversations are, the closer the two of you will become. It’s the growing together and learning about each other that makes falling in love so special.


Readers may submit their questions to Ella at The CJN, email: Ella is not a professional counsellor. Her advice is not a replacement for medical, legal or any other advice. For serious problems, consult a professional.

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