Do we eat the foods on a real seder plate? Nope. But we can eat this seder plate snack—even the plate.
I am all about the real: hands-on, real stuff. And when the real stuff has been explored, it’s time for re-creating the real with other materials: in miniature, life-size, on paper, in clay, with LEGO, food and other materials—the more irresistible, the better. Candy is pretty darn irresistible. My disclaimer is right here, up front, because I do not want any more snarky mail/comments about nutritional spirals and the substitution of the real for the fake. Lemme say it another way: to let kids re-create actual Jewish objects and traditions is called Enrichment. It is another layer of experience, another hands-on concrete reference point to a holiday or mitzvah or whatever Jewy thing is on the agenda.
Now, are we ready for the candy? Mini Edible Seder Plate.
I don’t mean the lovely, solid chocolate plates I can find in the Passover grocery aisle if I go shopping the instant they appear. Nor do I mean the solid chocolate plates you can actually make yourself with a cheap plastic mold.
I mean a mini seder plate your kid builds from a base (cracker, cookie) and candy representations of the seder symbols.
First, you need a real seder plate to look at, or at least a picture, so the kids see what is what. Use my printable Edible Seder Plate Guide, pictured above.
Then, figure out what candy can represent each symbol: in looks and perhaps even in essence. For example, the Maror (Bitter Herb) can be a sour or bitter candy. All my suggestions are kosher, but not necessarily kosher for Passover. If you program this with kids during the actual holiday, you’ll have to find K for P candy. See my notes below.
Depending on your mood, kids can help find the right candy for the right job. However, remember that the phrase, “a kid in a candy store” is cliché for a reason. Or, you can use the REAL symbolic foods on an edible, mini plate (except for the bone, if you wanna eat everything).
Keep the objectives clear by showing the Edible Seder Plate Guide. Write the name of the food or candy you will use for each symbol on the dotted red lines (“pretzel” as zeroa, etc.), and display it during your Edible Seder Plate activity. I put the sheets in upright lucite holders during family programs so that kids and parents can see the original foods, the substitutions and the placement.
CANDY / FOODS for Edible Seder Plate ideas:
Plate (ke’ara): cookie, cracker, Passover Tam Tam or Matzah cracker. A chocolate-covered cookie makes those colorful candy-bomb symbols really pop.
Shankbone / Zeroa: Bonz candy (pictured) is actually certified kosher, and cute as heck. Or, kids can smoosh a kosher mini marshmallow into a bone shape. Or, break a piece of pretzel stick (Snyder’s Sticks are OU and the right diameter). A mini Tootsie Roll, also kosher, is fun to pinch apart and mold into shape.
Egg / Beitzah: white Jordan almond, chocolate mini-egg, mini-marshmallow.
Bitter Herb / Maror: Hot Tamale candy, red Mike and Ike, sour Jelly Belly.
Charoset / fruit,nut,wine mixture: Cinnamon or apple candy, shredded fruit leather, fruit-shaped gummies. A speckled Jelly Belly jelly bean, squished. I’ve cut a piece of red cherry Twizzler into a flower-shaped disc, and if you squint, it sort of looks like a blob of reddish sweet stuff. (See below for my pink Bazooka warning.) Usually, charoset represents mortar, but you can represent the actual bricks with kosher LEGO-like “Candy Blox” (see my cracker plate pic above).
Karpas / Spring Vegetable: I’ve used parsley with family programs, because it is so incredibly edible already, but if 100 percent candy is your goal, try shredded green fruit leather, Laffy Taffy molded by hand, bits of green jelly bean, green Twizzler, etc.
Chazeret / Second Bitter Herb, usually romaine lettuce or grated horseradish. This 6th symbol is not on every seder plate, but it will show up on the most careful ones. Knock yourself out and add it. Shred a Hot Tamale or Mike and Ike for the grated maror. To mimic romaine lettuce, flatten a green Jelly Belly, use fruit leather or green Twizzler. Or, use a smidge of actual lettuce.
KOSHER FOR PASSOVER VERSION: Tam-Tam or Matzah cracker base, kosher mini-marshmallow as egg and squished into bone. Some kosher wine gums (fruit gel candy) are K for P. Even better: redeem those wretched Passover fruit-shaped gummy candies by molding them into wee shapes for the edible seder plate. Leave a comment and share what else you find within the world of K for P.
100 PERCENT HEALTHY AND KOSHER FOR PASSOVER VERSION: No candy! Use a non-hydrogenated matzah cracker as the plate, and let the kids add teeny bits of the really real symbolic foods. (Except the bone, of course. Maybe you can pinch off a bit of beet root. It was good enough for Rashi.)
BUYING info: I buy tiny quantities of the funky candy like Bonz and Candy Blox at local candy stores. Online searches will get you massive quantities, starting at 5 lbs.
SAFETY: Candy is a choking hazard. And I didn’t tell you to open a piece of Hebrew Bazooka, break off a corner and mold it into a tiny blob of ersatz Charoset, because even big kids might swallow it, unless they do the molding themselves, which they should, because I guarantee they’ll LOVE molding Hebrew bubble gum (and it’s K for P, to boot).
P.S. Middle and High Schoolers enjoy making Edible Seder Plates, too, perhaps more than do younger kids. It just takes them a lot less time to do it.
Teaching the Seder Plate: Real Symbolic Foods