Spring is in the air, and this means that Easter and Passover have come around again. Although each holiday has its distinct origins and significance, an important theme shared by both is that of togetherness and connection among family and friends. We enjoy this time with our loved ones so much – not to mention the good food and fun – that a few of us at Acme wanted to share some of our favorite memories and traditions from Easter and Passover.
Emily Caslow (Customer Service Manager and President of the Acme Smoked Fish Foundation) is one of the fourth-generation owners of Acme Smoked Fish, and like the rest of the Caslow family, she likes to emphasize the most fun aspects of the Passover celebration. In describing her favorite family Passover custom, she said, “We have a more theatrical tradition at the Caslow family. One year we had the idea to have the whole family act out the story of Passover. Everyone dressed up and it was so much fun, especially because Eric [Caslow] was an unexpected, great Pharaoh.”
Avi Junik (Quality Assurance Specialist) has fond memories of Passover from childhood. “My grandfather used to act out some of the passages as he read them, and that was my favorite part as a kid,” Avi shared. He went on to say, “My father was a rabbi, so we would have a lot of people from the community over to our house for Passover. It’s quality time for family and community, and everyone is there participating in their own way.”
Stephanie Zucker (Senior Digital Marketing Manager) described the traditional Seder plate well, “A traditional Passover Seder plate features a shank bone, egg, maror (bitter herbs), karpas (parsley), charoset (apples, nuts, spices, and wine), and chazeret (lettuce), all of which are full of symbolism.” Even though there is a certain universality to the Seder plate, the egg always had particular significance during Stephanie’s family Passover celebrations. About this, she said, “Ever since I can remember, my mom would make me eat a full hard-boiled egg during the Seder since it symbolized fertility. Classic Jewish Mom guilt! Luckily, it wasn’t all in vain since last year I celebrated my first Passover with my 6-month-old son. And fun fact: I’ve always been in charge of bringing the smoked salmon from Acme, even prior working here! Pastrami smoked salmon is a family favorite.”
For some, this time of year brings about their most beloved holiday traditions. “Easter is my favorite holiday,” shared Debbie Mattes (Senior Customer Service Representative). About her favorite holiday, Debbie went on to say, “On Thursday, we dye our eggs. On Saturday, we go to mass, and I take the candle from mass to light the pilot in my home oven. On Easter Sunday, we have lamb, potatoes, and spinach pie. Some people have moussaka, but we have spinach pie. Everyone gets together, and it’s not about giving and getting gifts. It’s about renewal.”
“My mom and I used to make these Middle Eastern shortbread cookies called maamoul,” started Kendall Blizzard (Associate Brand Manager). Kendall continued, “I guess it’s Lebanese tradition to make them for Easter, but no one in my family knows why. They can be filled with dates or pistachios, but pistachios are my favorite, and they’re covered in powdered sugar. You make them with a mold, and it’s one of those hyper-specific utensils you only use once a year but makes whatever kitchen drawer it’s in impossible to open.”
Holly Leung (Product Development Scientist) animatedly described her family’s unique relationship to Passover, “Every year, my family hosts an interfaith Seder at our church for over 100 people, even though we aren’t Jewish. My father, whose name is Israel – originally born and raised in Hong Kong – has a passion for Jewish culture, so we learned to make traditional Jewish foods such as kugel, matzah ball soup, macarons, and latkes from a very young age.”
Ellen Lee-Allen (Senior Marketing Manager) married into a Jewish family, but has developed a strong appreciation for the holiday. Ellen had to say, “Passover is my favorite of the Jewish holidays. To me, Passover is about learning about culture. It’s laden with history and traditions. I love the Seder itself because the foods are linked to specific meanings and symbolism. What you eat is connected to the stories. It teaches about universal themes of freedom and overcoming adversity.” When asked what she likes to prepare to accompany the Seder meal, Ellen said, “I prepare Sephardic Jewish recipes, and we have smoked fish for appetizers.”
The common theme shared throughout these brief recollections is that of togetherness, and that is what we are about at Acme, making good food that brings people together, generation after generation. Since you have now read a few of our stories, we hope that you will share a few of yours with us. Drop us a line or tag us on social media, we always love hearing about good times. Whether it’s Chag Pesach Sameach or Happy Easter to you, know that we are wishing a happy holiday to you and yours.