Special Needs & Eating On Passover
Preparing for Passover for people with medical or special needs presents many unique challenges.
Until fairly recently, Yaffa was on a feeding tube. At one point, her diet primarily consisted of puréed split pea, lentil and occasionally chicken soup.
It was an challenge to teach her how to eat by mouth. I would make her soups, purée them, and then freeze them in ice cube trays and defrost as needed. If I would alter her diet, she would stop eating and regress.
So, up until fairly recently, Yaffa was permitted to eat Kitniot.
In order to explain what that means, I am going to provide a bit of background on Passover customs.
The observance of Passover is not monolithic. Many customs and traditions are also a function of individual historical and cultural backgrounds.
All Jews refrain from eating leavened food, called “chametz,” over the holiday. Chametz, however, in its most literal meaning only refers to products containing wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt.
I am from a conventional Eastern European background. So conventional, in fact, I am almost radical.
During Passover, we eat “gebrokts” — matzah mixed with water, but we do not eat “Kitniot.”
Kitniot is the the term used for rice, millet, corn and beans. They are not among the prohibited grains on Passover, but are generally only eaten by Jews of Sephardic and not Ashkenazic descent.
Since we do not eat Kitniot, we used to have a separate set of Kitniot pots, pans and equipment for Yaffa. Everything had to be checked and made prior to the holiday.
Fortunately, quinoa is now available on Passover and it is not considered Kitniot.
We are so grateful that Yaffa can eat more solid food. Now, we only need one set of Passover dishes in our house!
The ability to eat food, chew and swallow are tremendous blessings.