Passover starts Friday evening. It lasts for eight days. So far, I’ve been to the grocery store four times to stock up on supplies, and the only things I’ve bought are non-perishables. As of this very moment, I have enough food (or ingredients to make food) for at least 14 days. And I could probably feed a group of 27. Once I buy the meats and the vegetables and the fruits (lots of fruits), those numbers will increase significantly.
Part of the problem is definitely me. I was raised in a family where you could be forgiven for murder, but if you didn’t serve enough food, you were banished from the family. Fear is a powerful motivator, and so I always cook more than enough.
Part of the problem is economics and the law of supply and demand. Passover food is needed for exactly one week a year. The groceries stores that stock items use whatever formulas they have to make sure they have supplies for that week. But unlike the rest of the food they carry, they don’t replenish Passover products if they run out. But I can’t serve non-Passover food during Passover, so I need to make sure I have more than enough to cover everyone’s needs.
And the rest of the problem is the Passover manufacturers. I don’t need a huge box of something I’m only going to use once. But the foods don’t come in a variety of sizes. They come in one-size-fits-all and that size is usually large enough to produce food for a month. No one wants to eat Passover food for a single minute more than they have to. No one is going to keep matzo meal to substitute for flour later in the year. Even our local food banks request we don’t donate it!
My usual method of food planning—making a list of all quantities I think I need, giving that list to my husband, having him cut all my amounts in at least half, and buying what turns out to be the right amount—doesn’t work. As a result, I have a guest room filled with more dry Passover ingredients than I’ll ever need.
But at least none of us will go hungry!