Passover and Palm Sunday Foods to Celebrate

Today when Matt Swaim on the Sonrise Morning Show chatted, it was about Passover and Palm Sunday. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to celebrate Passover, and His path was strewn with palms.

Passover is a freedom festival and begins with the Seder or Passover supper. It commemorates the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and their departure from slavery to freedom

The word Passover symbolizes the lamb’s blood that was used to mark the door of each Jewish family to ensure that the angel of death would not come and kill their first-born son. The plague that followed was due to Pharaoh’s refusal to free them. If the door was marked with blood, the angel “passed over”. 

My favorite Bible passage is Exodus 12:20:  “Nothing leavened may you eat; wherever you dwell you may eat only unleavened bread.”

Passover’s main ritual is the Seder.

It’s a festive meal that involves the re-enactment of the Exodus. The food eaten during Passover is special, including the absence of leavened foods and certain other foods. 

Let’s talk the Passover plate and foods, starting with lamb.

The word passover applies to the paschal Lamb of sacrifice. A lamb bone is often put on the main Seder plate.

Unleavened bread/Matzoh

Matzoh is a kind of bread that when commercially made, comes from wheat that has been grown, harvested and processed according to Jewish law. It can be made also from barley, spelt, rye and oats.. 

Bitter herbs. The bitter greens signify the bitterness of the Israelites slavery in Egypt,

These are called maror. Some say the bitter greens/herbs eaten during Passover include horseradish, among other greens. Christians believe they also signify the bitterness and anguish that Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsamane and during His crucifixion.

Horseradish root contains mustard oil and that gives it the hot spicy flavor. Horseradish contains vitamin C and is antibiotic!  An old recipe is to mix horseradish, honey and water for a sore throat. We love horseradish mixed with mayo or whipped cream to serve alongside beef.  The tender young leaves are yummy in salads. 

Parsley is eaten, as well.

Dipped in salt water. Salt water represents tears of sorrow shed during the captivity of the Lord’s people.

Haroseth/Charoset  represents the mortar used by Jews in building pyramids and palaces during their slavery in Egypt.

Made of chopped apples or other fruits, nuts, cinnamon and wine. You can make it chunky or like a paste, just like mortar. Or simply mix applesauce with raisins.

Wine is dipped from a common bowl.

There are 4 cups of wine, one for thanksgiving, one for telling the story, one for blessing and one for righteousness.

What’s the significance of the boiled egg?

The egg is a symbol of mourning as well. Eggs were the first thing to be served to mourners after a funeral. Christians believe the egg symbolizes new life, just like the chick hatches out and starts new.


Made with apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine represents the mortar used by Jews in building pyramids and palaces during their slavery in Egypt.

Wine is dipped from a common bowl. There are 4 cups of wine, one for thanksgiving, one for telling the story, one for blessing and one for righteousness. 

The egg is included on the plate as a symbol of mourning, as well. Eggs were the first food to be served to mourners after a funeral.  



My webmaster, John, serves the Charoset and Marror on Matzoh. He calls the Charoset “Hillel sandwich”. John goes to taste on this dish and makes enough extra for his daughter, Alice’s lunch box for the week.

4 finely chopped apples (Granny Smith and Fuji are good)

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1/2 – 3/4 cup grape juice

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Mix all and let sit for several hours before serving. 


Fun to make with the kids.

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening  

5 to 7 tablespoons ice cold milk or ice water 

Sift flour and salt together. Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.  Make a well in center and add 5 tablespoons of milk.  Blend with fork.  Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of milk as needed to make a smooth dough, being careful not to over mix.  Form into a ball, BLESS THE DOUGH, and divide in half.  Shape each half into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out as thin as you can, and cut into circles. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until light golden, about 8-10 minutes or so.

Even easier: Use refrigerated pie dough.


Put 1 cup cherry preserves mixed with 1/4 cup Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons horseradish in saucepan and heat until hot. Can be microwaved.  


A real winner in my Shaker cooking classes.

8 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips or sliced into 1/4” coins

2 -3 tablespoons finely diced onion

2-3  tablespoons horseradish

1/2 cup mayonnaise or substitutte

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F. Add carrots to boiling salted water, reduce heat and cook until tender, drain and place in a 6 by 10 inch baking dish. Mix onion, horseradish, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and water, pour over carrots. Mix bread crumbs and butter, sprinkle over carrot mixture.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes.


Legend has it that if you make yeasted hot cross buns for Good Friday and hang one up in the kitchen, you’ll have success with anything you make with yeast all year ‘round. 

Let the kids help Granddaughter Eva loved making the cross decoration. 

You can also simply use the icing as a glaze over the whole bun. 


1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast, regular or rapid rise

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 cup warm milk (110° -115°)

1/4 cup softened butter

Couple dashes salt

1/2 to 1 cup raisins 

1 large egg, room temperature

3-1/2 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 


In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. It will foam up.  Add butter, raisins, egg, salt and remaining sugar; beat until smooth.

On low speed, pour in enough flour to form soft dough – I used 3-1/2 cups. Turn onto very lightly floured surface (not too much flour or buns will be tough); knead until smooth like a baby’s bottom, about 5 minutes. I used the dough hook so avoided hand kneading and extra flour.

Place in sprayed bowl, turning once to coat top. Bless dough! Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 hour or more. Stick a finger in gently, if indentation remains, you’re good to go; if it springs back, it needs to raise more.

Punch dough down. Divide into 12 portions. Shape into balls.

Place in sprayed or buttered 13×9 pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake in 375 degree oven 25-30 minutes or until golden. Mine were done at 25 minutes. 


Whisk together:

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Enough water to make an icing thick enough to form a cross.

Ice after buns cool. Some bakeries drizzle a thin glaze on top of the buns BEFORE adding the cross. You can do what you like.

Tip from Rita’s kitchen:

Raising in frig: As an experiment, I divided dough in half and let half raise at room temperature and half in frig, covered, overnight. The dough from the frig took longer to raise, but both batches came out great.

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