Passover chicken with potatoes, shallots and rosemary ready for the oven


An eclectic group, this year’s seder in my daughter’s Beijing apartment included non-Jewish participants from Ireland, Argentina, England and Massachusetts as well as my Chinese-American Jewish daughter, her father (my ex, also Jewish) and me.

What at home would have cost $50 for fruits and vegetables, cost less than $5 at an outdoor market. What at home would have cost $50 for chicken, horseradish, nuts, herbs, flourless chocolate cake ingredients and more, cost over $100 at a shop in Beijing called April Gourmet.

With the matzoh meal I had brought from home, I made my best matzoh ball soup ever, maybe because I gave up trying to skim the fat. On my daugher’s 2-burner stove in a kitchen with literally no counter space, we chopped, baked and roasted all afternoon.

Over raw veggies (washed well) and hummus, we discussed seders past. I realized I’ve spent 5% of my Passovers in China. When we were ready to begin the seder, I spread the crisp white tablecloth I’d borrowed from my hotel on the wooden table that usually held my daughter’s aquarium, now in the bathtub.

My daughter, sitting on her night table in her small living quarters with limited seating, led the seder during which we passed around the one haggadah I’d brought from home. We dipped our pinkies into cabernet sauvignon ten times for the ten plagues, while my ex translated the plagues into Mandarin on his Blackberry.

On the whole perhaps not much different from the seder my friends were having at my home in DC, where they are staying with my beagle Casey, who no doubt was lurking under the dining room table in search of falling charoset crumbs.

In the spirit of the season, I have posted a slideshow of awesome Easter eggs and ideas for dying, decorating and displaying them.

What were the highlights of your seder if you attended one?

See the section about living in China from 1979 to 1981 IN MY NEW MEMOIR . . .

Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others                                                  is now on, Kindle, and Smashwords

The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for worrywarts or anyone who would enjoy a “neurotic, hilarious, poignant” deeply personal story.

“A first-rate personal essayist, Susan Orlins delivers the goods time and again. Underneath her self-mocking voice, her abundant humor, her brio, there is the serious candor of a moralist who worries the problems that won’t go away.”
–PHILLIP LOPATE, author and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay


“Susan Orlins is America’s funniest neurotic since Woody Allen. Just be careful you don’t crack a rib reading Confessions of a Worrywart.”

–PATRICIA VOLK, author of Stuffed

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, poignant, beautifully written January 21, 2013

Susan Orlins is a master storyteller.This book is both funny and poignant… both lighthearted and heartbreaking. It’s one of those rare books that you can read in a few days, but it stays with you much longer. I found myself thinking about Susan’s stories and experiences long after I finished the book. It’s a great read that will have you laughing out loud one moment, and then feeling your heart break the next as you travel along the bumpy road of Susan’s life. I have not enjoyed a memoir this much since reading David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty SomeDay. (But as a woman, I can relate to this book SO much more). Highly recommended.

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