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Soda Suffers

April 4, 2018

Let’s chalk this one up to the tragedy of unintended consequences.

The larger issue is probably worth further exploration on its own. I’m sure Mr. Dave would have a lot to add the conversation of how trying to improve the Capital Region’s culinary scene has led the Brooklynification of the area. These kinds of inflows of people and ideas have a way of killing what made an area special in the first place.

Or maybe not.
Like I said, that’s a big debate.

So let’s talk about something far less important: the changing kosher dietary rules for Passover, and what that means for soda. Because until yesterday, I thought this was just an academic issue. However, it turns out to be a real problem in practice.

First a little esoterica.

On Passover, those observing the holiday dietary traditions abstain from eating five grains classified as hametz. Those are wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye.

The clever readers out there will ask, what about matzo? That’s made out of wheat, isn’t it?

And the answer is, yes. Matzo is made out of wheat. But it is made under very strict supervision to follow the dietary codes. Those details don’t matter for the argument I’m making today. If you’re curious to learn more, Google is your friend.

There is another classification of grains called kitniyot which includes things like corn, rice, beans, and legumes. When I was a kid, most people who observed the Passover dietary traditions cut both hametz and kitniyot out of their lives.

Yes, that sucked. However, the upside was that during Passover, you could get Kosher for Passover versions of foods made without corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. And that’s why there is a deep love for things like Kosher for Passover Coca Cola even outside the Jewish community. It’s like the Mexican Coke, but much less expensive.

Now here’s the thing.

Over time, hard lines can soften. And recently there was an important decision made that abstaining from kitniyot no longer made any practical sense.

There was much rejoicing.

Seriously, I cannot even begin to tell you what a pleasure it is to be able to eat brown rice and black beans on Passover. It’s huge. My family was doing it before the official shift in policy. But now we are doing it with significantly reduced guilt.

But even in my joy, I was concerned that this might mean the end of Kosher for Passover foods as we knew them. So whenever people would push an anti kitniyot message, I would get a little nervous. Why? Because I never wanted to see what I saw at Hannaford today.

The Kosher for Passover Dr. Brown’s soda is now totally full of high fructose corn syrup. Gone are the days of the old time sugar formula coming back just for one week a year to remind us about how soda should be made.

Thankfully the Kosher for Passover Coke is still the real thing. But for how much longer? It’s hard to say. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this was its last hoorah. At least you’ve been warned. So if you want one final taste, you probably should get out there and buy a bottle. I know I did. I even picked up some Jamaican rum to help cut some of that sweetness.

Remember, look for the yellow cap. Happy hunting!

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