BY RON FEINBERG / Web Editor //
Time is running out, and I still have lots of chametz to finish off before Passover begins later this month. I imagine my wife Wendy and I will be throwing out much of the prohibited stuff, but I also think that, with just a little planning, I can eat my way through the pantry and fridge. After all, I still have 10 days or so before the first seder.
I can feast on frozen waffles, toast and cereal for breakfast; sandwiches – heavy on the, ah, bread – for lunch and a euphonic and tasty blend of pastas for dinner. Let’s not forget snacks and dessert: graham crackers and chocolate chip cookies; Weight Watchers brownies and ice cream; jellies, jams and cola all laced with high-fructose corn syrup.
Then again, perhaps I shouldn’t use my gut as a trash can. Given that I’m doing a pretty good job of turning my back on all things sugary and loaded with carbs, it’s probably better that I stick with salads, yogurt, veggies and protein. The chametz – or what little is still around in a few days, even the sugarless stuff – will either be packed up and stored, sold or tossed.
Finally, Wendy and I will spend a giddy hour or so next weekend checking out the pantry and sweeping away all the crumbs that have nestled comfortably into the little cracks and crevices in our kitchen. Then we’ll be set, time once again to focus on matzah and the lovely new things that kosher food manufacturers are producing these days to make Passover palatable.
Once upon a time, you had to suffer for a week or so, recalling those momentous days thousands of years ago when the Children of Israel, with a little Divine help and guidance, broke free from Egyptian slavery. As the story goes, the Hebrew slaves were in such a hurry to skedaddle once Moses finished plaguing Pharaoh that we’re told they didn’t even have time to let their bread rise before baking it.
The finished product, flat and tasteless, is what we call matzah today. It remains flat and mostly tasteless and, along with a few additional dietary laws, informs what observant Jews can eat during the holidays. And what’s the penalty for cheating and enjoying a piece of bread, donut or slice of cake?
Those souls – the observant believe – are lost to the people Israel.
But I digress. These days you can, ah, “skip” your cake and eat it too! All those things that are prohibited – cereal, pasta, cakes, cookies and soda – are now produced in ways that allow them to be consumed while following the letter of the law, if not exactly the spirit of the holiday.
There used to be something special about not being able to eat your favorite breakfast cereal, ignoring Coca-Cola for a few days and being forced to use macaroons instead of Oreo cookies to dunk in your milk. If you’re willing to pay the price, however, these days you can buy just about anything made special for Passover.
As I write this, entire aisles are taken up with such goodies at area supermarkets and specialty stores. It’s not exactly as tasty as the stuff filled with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, but it’s close.
And if it’s a matter of keeping your soul connected with the Children of Israel when you’re yearning for a sugary hit, maybe it’s worth the price. Just make sure you read the fine print when checking out at the market and make sure you have a good rabbinic lawyer when checking in to heaven.
You might also consider bringing along a few boxes of chocolate-covered matzo when standing before the pearly gates. It turns out the guy sporting the big “G” on his sweatshirt has a sweet tooth.
Just make sure it’s kosher for Passover!