Sorry, the run-up to Passover is long and arduous and has not allowed me much blogging time. I am aware of the dearth of iPod Songs of the Week lately, especially.
All Apologies is, coincidentally, not the iPod Song of the Week.
“Sorry, the run-up to Passover is long and arduous….”
Talk about irony: if only the ancient Israelites had put a little more time and effort into their own Exodus preparations, then we wouldn’t have to spend so much of our time today purging our houses of leaven and shopping for special foods. If only they’d started in time to let that damn dough rise!
Passover prep is much less burdensome to those of us who have only a genetic, familial and nostalgic attachment to the rituals. Which means I feel fine as long as sometime in the next couple of weeks I buy a box of matzoh and a couple of cans of macaroons at Publix.
But you know, I did think some Deep Thoughts about Passover recipes while reading this month’s Martha Stewart magazine. I grant you that Martha is not one to whom I believe the most devout turn to for leadership, but I think the recipes for flourless desserts and light-without-leavening cookies are in line with what genuinely devout people find kosher for Passover. At some level, this perplexes me.
In the house of my childhood, we didn’t root out the chametz but we did do without bread and leavening for the entire holiday, gather with extended family for the seders, and my mother stocked the house with once a year treats like matzoh, macaroons, latke mix, matzoh ball soup, jelly fruit slices and chocolate covered jelly rings (does Bartons only sell candy in April?).
Isn’t Passover supposed to be about deprivation, rather than abundance? Maybe I have this completely wrong, but it seems that the Israelites were given their freedom but at the cost of fleeing with only what they could carry. After a short time, when the immediate shininess of being free wore off and they hot and hungry and cranky from wandering in the desert they turned to Moses and said yeah, we were slaves, but we had water and plenty to eat. Now we’re out here and it’s hot and where our are jellied fruit slices and macaroons?
I think if I was God, I’d be cranky too. You just can’t do enough for some people.
I’m puzzled: Sarpon used the words “treats” and “matzoh” in the same sentence.
It’s too bad the Israelites didn’t have Ermin.
Anyway, you ruined it, Alex. Before that last comment both of these were longer than my actual post. As a matter of fact, I was tempted to switch out Sarpon’s for my actual post.
But in any case, Sarp, this is not a new thing. My grandmother though margarine was a shonda. Imagine. Bread and “butter.” Next thing you know, Jews’ll be marrying goyim.
Alex, the secret to really good matzoh is to take a stick of margarine, peel the wrapper back from one end, grasp it about the middle with one hand and hold the matzoh steady with the splayed fingers of the other hand on the kitchen counter as you cover every square millimeter of the matzoh with the margarine. The margarine has to be just a little soft, spread-y but not runny, and you can’t apply too much pressure or the thin, dark bumps on the surface of the matzoh will shatter and embed themselves in the end of the margarine or, even worse, the matzoh itself with split and then you have to get your sister to eat the ruined pieces so you can start over with a perfect, unbroken square.
In the ideal finished “buttered” matzoh, the “butter” is at least as thick or little thicker than the cracker.
I can’t imagine why I have a weight problem.
Aha, now I understand, Sarpon: the “treat” properties of matzah, in this instance, have nothing to do with the matzah itself. You could get just as much gustatory pleasure from spreading margarine on the box that the matzah came in–and a dramatic reduction in the number of matzah shards, to boot. Years ago, I actually heard some speaker tell a story about the French resistance saving a matzah factory from the Nazis by disguising it as a cardboard factory. I’m sure we all thought, “Well, that seems pretty darn obvious! If the Nazis hadn’t been such antisemites, they’d have known enough about matzah to see right through that disguise in an instant. Serves ‘em right!”
Becca, one of the things I like about Passover is that it’s the only time of the year when we have actual butter in the house. The rest of the year we’re constantly using margarine, because it’s parve, or because it’s lower in points (we only buy the stuff that’s points-friendly), or whatever. Butter is actually very tasty.
Sorry about the brevity of the previous post. I’d actually written a lot more, but I didn’t want to be verbose. For once. But as you can see, I have since decided that economy of words just isn’t my style.
Next time ask me to do it for you silly.
Just your average Conservadox Jewish, Depeche Mode loving, career changing, former rap music selling, K-12 tech-integrating, single gal in the city.
Email me: becca(at)magicjewball(dot)com