Skip to content

The Passover Panic

April 17, 2019

Don’t Panic! It’s good advice, but it’s hard. Because sometimes panicking seems to be the only logical recourse.

Passover is coming. It begins on Friday night, and once it starts, bread and beer become forbidden foods. We avoid the five grains that are considered to be hametz, and those are wheat, oat, barley, rye, and spelt.

It’s a hard week, and it causes a lot of people to panic for all kinds of different reasons. The most observant members of the Jewish community take this opportunity to engage in a ritual purification ritual of the home. Every speck of hametz has to be cleaned out, and it’s a major ordeal. Some folks decide to go away for the week instead of facing the task.

We don’t do that. Heck, we barely give up hametz. Don’t tell the kids, but I’ll be judging a cocktail competition at Speakeasy 518 on the Wednesday during passover. A little hametz isn’t going to be the end of the world.

Which isn’t to say there isn’t anything to panic over, because I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.

For starters, this week I’m eating all the bread I can. As I post this, I’m reheating leftover pizza that Mrs. Fussy had delivered when I was at New World Bistro Bar this past Monday. But I’m also eating as much pasta as I can, because I love pasta, and a week without pasta is going to be hard.

There’s a lot we’re going to have to miss out on during Passover week, but the world can’t stop just because about .2% of the global population is Jewish. And how many of those are observant enough to stop eating pizza, pasta, and sandwiches?

Here in Albany, that percentage is significantly higher. Heck, we even have a “Kosher Chopper”. For those who don’t know, that’s a Price Chopper supermarket with a giant kosher section, including a kosher butcher shop. And every year, their kosher for Passover selection is the envy of the land.

This is where you go for matzoh, because they have so many different brands and varieties. Not all matzoh is created equal. Matzoh is also quite binding, and if you’re going to be eating the stuff all week, getting some whole grain matzoh is of critical importance.

That was the source of another panic I had earlier this week.

One of my friends posted a picture of the shelves at the Kosher Chopper, and it looked like the bread section on the eve of a snowstorm. It was completely wiped out, except for one tattered box of egg matzoh that nobody wanted. Yeah, I don’t know why someone would want matzoh made with eggs either.

Egads! So yesterday, I figured it was time to stop dallying and go out and hunt for next week’s bread of affliction. And that’s when panic started to set in. Knowing that the Kosher Chopper might not have had a chance to restock, I stopped in at a smaller Price Chopper along the way.

Nothing. Not one box.
The Kosher Chopper? Same sad situation.
They were even wiped out of their jarred gefilte fish!

Thankfully, my next stop was ShopRite, and they had plenty of matzoh, including some with 4g of fiber per piece. It’s not my usual brand, so I’m not sure if it will be delicious or not. But in panic mode, I bought five boxes. I hope it’s good.

I’m less panicked about preparing the festive meal for Friday night. Our holiday dinner is going to be a more simple affair. But thanks to the good folks at ShopRite I have a lamb shank, which I need for ceremonial purposes, and a brisket to braise as part of our eastern European, jewish culinary tradition.

It’s pretty easy. It just takes time. And most of it is better when it’s made in advance. The chicken soup is already mostly done, thanks to all that rich glorious stock I keep on hand in the freezer. If I salt and season the brisket tonight, I can cook it tomorrow, remove the fat on Friday morning, and have it sliced and back in the oven for dinner on Friday night.

Now all that’s left is contemplating a week without granola! Eeek. Deep breaths. Deep breaths will get me through. That and matzoh brei.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2019 9:51 pm

    what’s your Matzah brand of choice?

  2. llcwine permalink
    April 18, 2019 1:28 pm

    I just saw a documentary on WMHT (filmed a few years ago). I never knew that Streit’s was made down on the LES (Lower East Side) and is truly still a family business. It was facinating to watch and going forward, I may make Streit’s my brand (keep it local). Ok..Keep it NY!!! Wishing you and your family a Zissen Pesach!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: