Dandelion of faith

Staying centered in the midst of my pre-Pesach baking fiasco

My goal for the late afternoon today was to get a significant chunk of the Pesach cooking and baking done.  But sometimes, you can do your best and things just don’t seem to cooperate!

I started with a new marble cake recipe.  I cooked up a chocolate syrup to use for the marbling, made the entire cake and put it in the oven.  I thought it looked like a small recipe.  Maybe it would rise once it was baking? I wondered.  Well, on to the brownies.

As I made the brownies, I noticed the package of potato starch was still closed. I looked around, knowing I had just used it for the marble cake. Oh, no, it seems I must have forgotten that. That’s why the recipe looked so small.  I pulled the pan out of the oven (fortunately I hadn’t yet started to bake it), mixed in the potato starch and then my marble cake became a pale chocolate cake.  But it will still taste good, right?

I finished mixing the brownies and after pouring it into the baking pan, asked ds17 to taste it just to make sure it was okay and jokingly said, “Just to make sure I didn’t forget the sugar or something!”  He tasted it and said, “It needs more sugar”.  No, that’s not what he was supposed to say!

I looked at the recipe, and then saw that when I copied it, I didn’t write in the sugar!  Instead of writing 1 3/4 c. cup sugar, 3/4 c. potato starch, I wrote – 1 3/4 c. potato starch.  Yes, I followed the recipe perfectly but the recipe was imperfectly written so it didn’t matter!

I was able to add the missing sugar but had already added more than double the amount of potato starch.  That didn’t bode well for a good consistency, but hopefully it would still taste good.

Next I put a large pan of coconut macaroons in the oven – it was a new recipe that I slightly adapted, much easier than ones that I’ve made in the past and they have a really nice taste and moistness.  I’ll try to post it for you before Pesach begins.

Then the power blew.  Months ago when time this happened it was because there was a malfunction with the stove thermostat.  But we had the malfunctioning part replaced so why was it happening now?  Then the power went back on and the stove did, too, so I was reassured that there was nothing to worry about.

I took out the perfectly browned macaroons and put in a large pan of Pesach granola. Right after that we started bedikas chametz (search for leavened bread), which is done the night before Pesach.  Ds6, ds8 and ds10 had a great time hiding the well-wrapped pieces of chametz with the supervision of an older sibling – this time ds22.

Dh is great at making mitzvos enjoyable for the kids and he really gets them into it.  They were laughing and giving him clues (“warmer, warmer, no colder – very cold”) when he got close to where they hid the pieces for him to find.  I went to stir the granola so it wouldn’t burn but it didn’t seem to be cooking very quickly.  After another couple of times when I checked it, I started to think it wasn’t cooking at all.  And then I noticed that the oven was just warm and the delicious smells that had been emanating from my oven were no longer present.

Well.  My oven wasn’t working and I still had the bulk of my cooking to do!  Ds17 said, ‘Isn’t this a big problem for you right now?  Why aren’t you worried?”  I told him not to think that my lack of emotional reaction was because I wasn’t going to do something about it.  I would, when we finished bedikas chametz, but we could take care of it without getting uptight about it.

Even if you put effort into personal development, it’s hard to be aware of how you’ve grown since real change takes place slowly and over a long period of time.  When ds made this comment, my lack of anxiety about the broken stove in the middle of my baking marathon juxtaposed with the comparison to how I would have reacted to this years ago.  That flash of clarity as to how far I’ve come was really a gift to me.

We finished bedikas chametz and dh called the electrician who had come in the past.  It’s so nice when you have someone competent and reliable and responsible who you already have a relationship with and trust, who can help you out in a situation like this!

I was anticipating the oven being speedily repaired – maybe he would even come within an hour or so!

Um, not quite. Actually, he notified us that he isn’t working anymore before Pesach.  No, not for anyone.  No, not even for us.  :)  And he’s not working until after Pesach.  Dh asked him if he knew electricians who would be working.  No, he didn’t.  That definitely changes my plans for Pesach baking!

It was right after this I received my delivery of 20 dozen eggs.   Usually I use half of that for a week but because of my plans to do a lot of Pesach baking, I didn’t want to run short.  But by the time they arrived, I already had to adjust my plans for what I would be making.  Good thing my family likes eggs!

I was so grateful to have made what I did before my oven broke:

  • The marble-cake- turned- chocolate cake turned out great.
  • Rather than being dry and overly dense due to my mistake with the potato starch, the brownies were gooey – probably because the heating element blew before they were completely finished baking.  I think once they cool off and set they’ll be perfect but if they’re still loose, we’ll freeze them and serve them as a frozen dessert.
  • The macaroons baked completely and well.
  • The granola was easily completed by toasting it in a frying pan.

Since I’m now ovenless, I’m going to be doing the rest of my Pesach cooking on my stovetop this year.  This week I invested in several new pots which I bought for a marvelously discounted price, to supplement the two Pesach pots that I had.  I already felt very abundant about this addition to my Pesach kitchen, but how amazingly timely and helpful it is that with the help of these pots I’ll now be able to more easily compensate for the lack of an oven!


Often life doesn’t go according to my plan (and I bet often it doesn’t go according to yours, either!), but when I adjust myself to life instead of fighting it or fuming about why things don’t go my way, life is so much more enjoyable.

Happy Pesach to you all!




14 thoughts on “Staying centered in the midst of my pre-Pesach baking fiasco

  1. what you really did was set an amazing example for your children, about dissapointments, and acceptance of the situations. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to go thru, but your family learned, ( and us also) a very valuable lesson in life. thank you for sharing. wishing you and your family chag kasher v’samaech. rochel.

  2. Thank you for your inspiring story. There is always great tochen in your writing. This year will be the simplest Pesach at our place as we left nearly all our Pesach stuff behind when we relocated from Australia to NY state. Amazing what you can do without!

    1. Chaya Yehudis, I remember you commenting once about creches in Australia and would have assumed you still lived there if you hadn’t shared this. Did you move to be close to your children?

      We also left most of our Pesach things behind when we made aliyah and bit by bit we’re adding on. This year our big additions were three dairy pots (didn’t have any) and two more meat pots (we had two), which are being well used and we are all grateful for them as it makes cooking much more efficient.

    1. The most important thing to me the week before Pesach was to be a pleasant and relaxed person to be around. I verbally committed this to a friend and spoke with her briefly every morning to check in with her on it! By nature I’m not an easygoing person so I’ve had to work very much on developing the quality of letting go of the results especially when I’ve put a lot of energy into trying to accomplish something.

      Thanks for letting me know you appreciate my writing- I appreciate it!

  3. This happened to us on erev Pesach when we were 3 families at sil’s house for the whole Pesach. We ran out and bought a large toaster oven and did the baking in there.

    1. A neighbor in the building next door read my post and the next morning I got a call offering me the use of her large Pesach toaster oven! It was totally unexpected and we were able to do baking for the end of the chag and will give it back tomorrow morning – such a generous and kind offer on her part!

  4. kol hakavod. I have to say that in general I’m a person who has a much longer bounce-back time… :-)

    thanks for sharing your mishaps – I think just knowing these things happen to other people is VERY helpful, regardless of how well they (or we) handle it, though of course, that’s a very nice bonus… chag same’ach!!

    1. I’m happy my mishaps make you happy, Judy. :) :) Seriously, I also think it helps to know that we all have these kinds of experiences; it takes away the feeling of exceptionality.

  5. Kol HaKavod to you for being able to go with the flow. This is the first year we’re making Pesach since moving and we didn’t find our Seder plate, Hagadot and a couple of other things. Nothing compared to an oven not working but I am patting myself on the back for just enjoying what we do have.

    1. It’s unsettling not to have the things you’ve been used to having for so many years and it’s really easy to get fixated on what isn’t in place. Good for you for keeping the focus on the positive!

  6. Oh my gosh, my heart started racing just reading this! So glad things worked out, huge chag sameach to you and your family!!

  7. Just what I needed to hear! Thanks for sharing.

    I will try your calmness commitment for this upcoming 3 day Shavuous (in the US). I love how you checked in with a friend each morning. I will try to do the same.
    You are an inspiration to us all.

    BTW, I too found myself tensing up when I started reading this post. I’m glad that it had a happy ending! Maybe I was nervous because of the burn episode you had by a previous Pesach? By the end of the post I thought to myself “B”H no exploding oven! At least you’re all healthy! What a relief!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing