The Second Night: A Tunisian Seder

For the second night of Passover we went to a Tunisian Seder at Jennifer and Philippe’s on the Upper West Side. The photo below is of their beautiful Tunisian Seder plate, which includes a Tunisian style charoset (upper left portion of plate) that I made myself of apples, dates, almonds, toasted sesame seeds, and rosewater. The final paste I formed into small balls, then rolled in finely ground rose petals:



The photo below shows Jennifer carrying the Seder plate around the table while circling each person’s head — a common Sephardic and Middle Eastern Seder custom. This ritual signifies good luck for the year to come, but more importantly connects each guest present to the story of the Exodus from Egypt:


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3 thoughts on “The Second Night: A Tunisian Seder

  1. animalizard May 12, 2014 at 6:10 am Reply

    Jennifer this is so interesting! Well as a Tunisian woman I see some differences that have been adopted by second generation migrants in the seder plate- rosepetals we don’t use for rolling!- but it’s nice to know some traditions are kept. I am fascinated by your book so think I will buy it for my mother, she always said Syrian men turned down Tunisian woman for a shidduch on a basis of couscous, so I think this will be an amusing reminder for her!

    • Jennifer Abadi May 12, 2014 at 8:35 am Reply

      Thank you for signing up! Yes, there are always things that change with every generation, but then again there are also slight differences (I have found) within each community according to each family. Did your mother put rose petals or even rosewater into her charoset? I am curious about how she and/or her mother made it. As far as the Syrian men, they probably were not as familiar with couscous as this is more of a Northwest African food (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia). Bulgur wheat was much more their thin (and Kibbeh Nabiseeyeh was one of those prized dishes they used to “judge”.)

      • animalizard May 12, 2014 at 4:42 pm

        My Djerbanese savta would make it even with orange blossom water- I’m not so sure about rosewater. She was very influenced by Moroccan cuisine as she was sephardic in a broader sense- anything from couscous to spiced fish! But orange blossom featured a lot, whenever I smell it I think of her..

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