04/18/2008 06:59 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Freecycle Offer: Seder for Hungry Jewish Strangers!

I've written about my adventures in Freecycling elsewhere, and even a writer without portfolio like myself is loathe to revisit old topics. But (rationalizing here), what better topic to recycle? And the Freecyle offer that popped up in my inbox this week was one I couldn't refuse, and wanted to share.

If you're new to Freecycle, here's how it works. You go to, find your local group, and sign up. You post items you want, or offer bits and bobs to you'd end up chucking in a landfill.

My avid Freecycling might make me a borderline "Freeganist", but I'm far from hard-core; I don't dumpster-dive for food. But most everything else? Free, free, free. My carbon footprint is basically one pinky toe. Where I come from, people like me would not be called Freeganists. More like Super-Crazy-Mega-Cheap, or Bag Lady-In-Training.

But Freecycle has given me riches far beyond the material. I've met a saintly foster mom (and actually cried when she was told she couldn't adopt one of the children), and several delightful junkster shut-ins who, miraculously, wanted chit-chat as much as I did. My husband secretly arranged to pick up a decade's worth of old New Yorkers for me, surely the most romantic thing he has done since cutting little heart-shaped pork chops for me for Valentine's Day circa 2000 (apologies to the vegans among you Freegans).

Then there's the general Freecycle hilarity factor. I'm done furnishing my new (old) house, but I still get live alerts all day from a half dozen groups because I love to see what folks are offering. Here's some of my faves:
Offer: Ovaltine. We have promised this TWICE and it is STILL here. Please, for the
LOVE come get the Ovaltine. It is starting to develop a complex. It's
a really nice 12oz. jar. I hope someone out there can give it a good home. Miserable (ovaltine) in Marlborough.

Offer: Gynocologist examining chair from maybe the 1940's. Your grandma might have been examined in this!

Offer: Extra progesterone vaginal suppositories for hormone replacement.

Wanted: Friend of mine is having a quick wedding coming up! No...she is not with child. Looking for a Wedding Dress?? Size 12. White Xmas lights, white candles. And for all you creative folks out there...anything white related that you think would be helpful ie. Linens, etc.. Ahhhh the job of the illustrious Maid of Honor....

Then, not long after that wedding email came this from the "illustrious Maid of Honor".

Offer: I had a pig slaughtered and I have all the organs and such, I thought some one may want them for pet food, or maybe to's up to the individual. We have the kidneys, tounge, feet (ham hocks), heart. They are in the freezer, and very very fresh. Maybe the brain too. First to pick up gets it. Just have to thaw em!

Well, I know one Freecycling family who most certainly did not pick up that unlucky pig. This is the offer they posted this week:

Offer: We are looking for hungry Jewish guests to participate in our family
seders on Saturday and Sunday nights, so that none of our delicious food goes to waste. We are Orthodox, so it is a long and late evening, but, we hope, an inspiring and delicious one as well. Please contact me for further details.

How could I not? Here's what Jodi, I'll call her, told me. "I posted on freecycle a few days ago, offering all my chometz (leavened products, which we are forbidden by Jewish law to own on Pesach). The sealed packages will go to Brookline Mass. food pantry, but I'm thrilled to see the open salad dressings not go to waste. Now, I want to make sure we'll have enough people to eat all the food we've been cooking. It is part of the seder ritual to say "Let all who are hungry come and eat." The personal aspect is that my husband lost both his parents this past year, and this is his first Passover without them. Our table, although it includes our 6 children and a few other guests, feels empty. We love people who bring good questions and good answers, and we are happy to cook lots of good food to have them share with us."

So while this recovering Catholic attends Seder-lite with her BFF in Boston Saturday night, a few miles away in Brookline, some Jewish strangers will show up at Jodi's house, and all I can say is bring an very empty stomach (see Jodi's menu below) and something to say. Happy Freecycling, and Happy Pesach.

The Brookline Freecycler Seder 2008 Menu

Friday night (Shabbat):
Challah (-- the last bit of chametz, eaten over a tissue, which will then be flushed away with its crumbs))
Chicken soup with matza balls
Israeli salad
Roast chicken
Hot dogs for the kids
Oven roasted potatoes
Stir fried broccoli (with soy sauce and cornstarch substitutes)
Dried fruit and candy for dessert

Saturday lunch (eaten well before noon, so that our homes are free of the last chometz by the requisite time according to Jewish law):
All of the above, minus the chicken soup
Gefilte fish
Beef stew (prepared the day before, and left on a low flame since, so that we can eat it hot, since we don't cook on Shabbat)

First night seder:
Seder food -- matza, wine, charoset, bitter herbs, parsley and potato to be dipped in salt water
Hard boiled eggs
Chicken soup with matza balls or zucchini soup
Potato kugel
Grilled vegetables
Israeli salad
sauteed mushrooms
Fried eggplant slices
Brisket and gravy
Dessert -- home baked Pesach chocolate chip cookies and brownies
Homemade lemon ices, fruit salad

Next day lunch -- matza brie (eggs and matza fried)

Second seder:
Seder food
Soups (same as last night)
Salad (green salad)
Chicken fingers fried after dipping in matza meal or in crushed almonds
Garlic mashed potatoes
Roast asparagus
Leftover side dishes from previous night
Dessert: chocolate mousse and meringues, plus anything looking good from last night

Second day lunch -- whatever we can waddle over and feel like making.