The Later Seder


Matthue Roth is the author, most recently, of the picture book The Gobblings, and a bunch of other books. By day, he's a video game designer and producer. He lives in Brooklyn and blogs at and

It's amazing to see the ramifications of a moment across time. We are Passover people. In opposition to the traditional attitude of "oh no, 8 days of smearing sauce on matzah and calling it pizza and what else is there to eat in the world," Itta and I are, respectively, a chef and a severe anxiety sufferer. And Passover is a holiday where you clear away all the extra shmutz in your life, scale back into simplicity, and invite a ton of people to join you. In addition, Itta is Chabad, which means there are tons more rules for Passover—instead of matzo meal and premade mixes, we only use raw ingredients. Passover is, quite simply, our jam.

In years past, we invited 20 or 30 friends, friends-of-friends, and randoms, and it was awesome. This year, though, with a month-old baby, we kind of forgot about inviting anyone. Enter ROI and that amazing Google Maps-based program that let people advertise a seder, advertise looking for a seder, and basically wave their electronic hands in the air, saying, pick me! We threw our hands in the air. We landed with some guests we've never met before, some with a background in various traditions, some with no knowledge of traditions at all. One was a poet (hey, so was I!). One was a historian. Everyone had their own takes on the Passover story, and the weird sub-sub-stories of the Haggadah, and we all came at it with our own takes. And then, of course, we all came at the food with a single, united voraciousness.

It wasn't a massive, career-scoping game-changer like an ROI conference, but in a way, it was. And now—way past the effects of Passover, way later than this blog post should have been due—we're still hearing from our one-night guests, and hearing about them. We've swapped stories, traded friends, made plans (but, dammit, Alex, we have to follow it up!) to go to poetry events. But that's why we eat eggs on Passover, right? To remind us that the world is round, and the calendar keeps turning. And another Passover, joy of joys, is just around the corner.

Because Passover is one of those no-picture-taking holidays, these are pictures from Itta's other cooking projects instead. And at first, we really did pass around plain, ungarnished eggs, not fancy nori-dressed ones. But that doesn't mean we didn't do some pretty cool things to them afterward.