By Ilana Danneman
I must confess: I am hoarding cream cheese. It’s an addiction. I’m sure there is a 12-step meeting somewhere for people like me.
It’s not just any cream cheese. I am hording Breakstone’s Temp Tee Whipped Kosher for Passover Cream Cheese. It shows up in the grocery store before Passover.
For about five minutes.
I grew up sneaking spoonfuls into my mouth. When it comes to Passover, my sister and I talk about cream cheese more than we do about matzah. Like somehow the commandment to eat matzah has a Rashi (commentary) “must be smeared with cream cheese.”
It’s like this …
“I still need to get my cream cheese.”
“What? You didn’t get it yet? You better hurry.”
“Where did you get yours?”
“Kroger, but they were almost out.”
And then …
“What? They had 50 on the shelf yesterday. I only took eight of them.”
“Well, there are six of us, and we each go through at least a container during the week, and then we have guests. I can’t risk running out.”
My niece, who has inherited the cream cheese addiction, then says, “Well, if they are out, I’m coming to your house to get cream cheese.”
Panic. What if she shows up?
I’d hate to be the Breakstone deliveryman. I think they sneak him into the store in the middle of the night to avoid any injury.
My mother called me the other day: “Did you get your cream cheese yet? Can you pick me up two containers?”
Oy! Back to the store.
She’s 83 and doesn’t cook anymore. How can she possibly go through two containers? I guess it’s hereditary.
It’s like if we don’t have cream cheese, we don’t have Passover. We typically eat it with matzah and smear jelly on top. I’ve tried it during the year with bread, and although a bagel does it justice, neither is anywhere near as tantalizing as the cream cheese with jelly and matzah.
And don’t dare use it with matzah during the year. That is sacrilegious.
Now there are backups and replacement cream cheeses, such as the $8 cholov Yisroel (for the Super Jews who eat only extra-supervised dairy items), but I’m telling you now: It does not come close to the whipped Breakstone Temp Tee cream cheese.
My kids will eat it for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and snack. Which brings me to the question of why I feel compelled to hoard the other grocery items I’ve purchased before Passover, such as those golden (that would be their cost) macaroons, chocolate almonds, and enough meat, eggs and cake mixes to feed a small army.
Thank G-d for Costco. Now I can buy three times what I need at four times the cost.
My husband and now two of my boys are non-gebracht (as is my dog), so that means they won’t eat the foods that have the five grains mixed with water (plus eating cream cheese on handmade shmura matzah is not the same), but my daughter and her four guests (“Mom, can I bring four guests home?”) as well as my other son and I are not. So that means I need those overpriced cake mixes that they love. “And, Mom, be sure to have the muffin mix for us.”
I have three of the golden muffin mixes.
The sad thing is that if I wait until Passover is over, I can buy them at a fifth of the cost and save them for next year. Now that should make us all wonder — and feel a bit leery.
Anyway, back to the cream cheese. It is safely tucked away in my fridge, and once I make it through an amazing seder that will catapult me into freedom nirvana, I will wake up spiritually in sync — but craving matzah with cream cheese and jelly.
Oh and the jelly? That’s up for discussion and personal preference, but I can tell you the kosher jelly companies aren’t doing too bad either.
As I’ve told my kids, “Consider selling kosher food or toilet paper. We can’t live without either.”
Breakstone can thank me and thousands of others who can’t go one week without cream cheese.
Such a delicacy.
Have a meaningful and kosher Passover.
Ilana Danneman is an author, wife and mother who shares her Orthodox life at her Married to a Yid blog (www.marriedtoayid.com).