Demystifying Matzos!

One thing that separates me from most bloggers is I”m not all that “religilous”.

I don’t often talk about my religion as it doesn’t really embody who I am. Plus, most Jews would think my “Jewness” is cancelled out by the fact that I haven’t been to temple since I was 13 and that I will bend over backwards for bacon.

But Passover is coming up, and I find the iconic Passover staple, Matzo, fascinating. (and its pronounced “ma-tz-ah” and I have no idea why people write it with an “O”. I guess for the same reason “knife” is spelled with a “K”).

If you’re not “of the tribe,” you might be busy readying for the Easter holiday by dreaming of spiral-cut ham, seeing how many Marshmallow peeps can fit into your mouth, or pulling your best pastel romper from the back of the closet. Meanwhile, us “Chosen Ones” are preparing ourselves for the Passover. Zero ham, zero leavened bread, and best of all, zero rompers.

Brief History: In the beginning, there was dough. When Egypt’s pharaoh finally agreed after much convincing (and 10 plagues) to let Moses’ enslaved people go, the Jews left their homes so quickly (pursued by the pharaoh), who by then had changed his mind — that they didn’t have time to prepare bread for the journey. Instead, they ate an unleavened mixture of flour and water that, when baked, turned flat and hard. Like a sorry looking butt. During the next eight days of Passover, Jews from all over remember their exodus by forgoing cakes, cookies, pasta and noodles — anything made to rise with yeast, baking soda, etc. — in favor of unleavened foods. Primarily: matzos.

I know, it sounds like an eating disorder, but I swear it isn’t.

Anyhow, Matzos are a big deal for hardcore Jews. Since my parents were not religious, my mom served baguette at Passover (and probably with some ham). But to show you how big over a deal they are, look at all the varieties I found in ONE teeny Jewish market:

 

My Matzoh of choice!

and for the diet crowd

So the million dollar question all you non-Jews are probably wondering is…..

What does this shit taste like!?

Answer: In terms you non-Jews might be able to understand, it tastes like a communion wafer. Not that I would know….but both are bland blends of water and flour. Then again, we cover it in chocolate. And when that happens, its heaven.

 

 

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28 thoughts on “Demystifying Matzos!

  1. Is it weird that, all through Catholic school I used to think, “Man, Passover is so much cooler than Easter. All Jesus did was rise from the dead, the Jews got to leash the Angel of Death on the Egyptians!”

    I hope you and your dad are hanging in there, I know things are really rough right now! I’m not really religious (Catholic school broke me, clearly,) but you are both in my thoughts.

    • You wanna know the weird thing? I went to jewish school my whole life! from pre k to 12th grade! It was reform so nothing too religious so I guess it didn’t “break” me, but I do know all the prayers and biblical stuff. Its sad I will never find them useful.

  2. I thought matzo would make awesome pizza crust… nope. I also thought it would make a perfect conveyance for peanut butter and jelly… nope lol

    Have an awesome day Eden!

  3. I’ve never tried matzoh in my life. I lived in Singapore, where Jews were sadly bereft. And then I came to America, and still never saw any Jews. I saw my first orthodox Jew in NYC, you know, the guys in black suits and beards and the little uh, hat. I pointed and screamed excitedly, “Look! A Jew!!”

    Embarrassing as hell. But I am still interested to try that “sorry looking butt” haha!

  4. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made on Matzoh are great. I’m Jewish too 😀 But my Jewishness extends to matzoh (and of course haroset), latkes with sour cream and corny Jewish jokes (do you know the one about the Jewish knight?)

  5. I’ll take a box of that matzo covered in dark chocolate please! Once my sister became vegetarian, we started shopping at this little kosher grocery store close to our apartment that had way better options for her than our regular store, and I’d always grab some matzo for snacks. I love ’em with peanut butter. I too always though Passover was so much cooler than Easter. Plus, it lasts longer!

  6. i always wanted to try matzo balls, just because they sounded fun to say. Is that allowed? But now I have high hope that they’ll make a GF version…..okay well maybe that won’t happen, but I can hope. Mmmmm….matzo, see…it just rolls of the tongue!

  7. At one of the grocery stores here in Austin there is a HUGE kosher section (complete with a mini-restaurant), and last weekend they were having the Passover sample fiesta of sorts. I tried Matzo and other interesting kosher products for passover, such as these peanut butter puffs from Israel that—no joke—were the texture of a cheese puff but tasted like Peanut Butter Capn’ Crunch.

    The Matzo ball soup was delicious, though.

  8. I going to go out on a limb and totally disagree with you that they are bland…I LOVE them and think that they are so toasty delicous! Especially with butter!?! OMG. Of course, I never, ever do this, but I love it. I can’t believe how many they have now: spelt, wheat bran, CHOCOLATE!!!!??

    I have used matzo (once) to make salmon cakes- you know, as a bread crumb type thing and a binder.

    And the light ones are like 10 calories less than the regular ones- may as well go all out!

    Funny about your mom and the baguette and ??ham on the last passover- hee. Funny mom~! ❤ My mom tried to be jewish but bless her heart she was a blond haired blue eyed Swede. While we didn't dawn pastel rompers, we WErE all over the marshmallow peeps and easter egg hunts (while we chomped our matzos). 🙂

    • Granted, my family tended to be in Europe during my passover break when I was young. And how could you be in France or Belgium and NOT have baguette? But my mom was a little nutty. I went to a Jewish elementary school and although it wasn’t too religious, my mom packed me ham sandwiches! I just told kids it was a blushing turkey.

      And I dont like the ordinary matzos, but slather it with butter and of course its delicious! I have yet to try all those crazy spelt/bran/rye ones. And yes, it makes an excellent binder. I know this sounds retarded, but I like it with eggs and jam….we need to have some sometime!

  9. Hi Eden,

    Good post! I’m not sure how I’ve never seen light matzo (though I doubt I’m missing anything). I’m wondering if you didn’t mention your father today b/c of the hyper critical commenter yesterday. I just wanted to say that you shouldn’t listen to that person and you should write about whatever you want and whatever makes you feel better. I personally skim your recipes (they look good, but I’m lazy/short on time, so I only cook occasionally) and I mainly read for the rest of your commentary. Re: this post – I read a few articles in the NYTimes recently that you might find interesting:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/dining/13seder.html?src=recg
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/health/12orthodox.html (and this: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/eating-disorders-among-orthodox-jews/)

  10. Yup…I have a weird love of matzoh. Maybe it was because as a kid I was surrounded by Jewish friends and they all had really cool houses/snacks and seemed to always have really cool holidays/celebrations…probably helped that they were the “rich-doctor’s kids”.

    Plus we were Russian Orthodox immigrants so we always had borscht, weird potato salads and various animal organ meats….oh, I could go on. Supposedly I should be doing a majorly strict fast right now (40+ days of Lent) followed by one crazy night of bingeing at 4am to break the fast but well….not happening! Though I do fear being struck by lightening one of these days for my sinning ways (:

  11. My immediate family is not religious either, but some of my cousins are so we used to go to their seders when I was a kid. I was never a big fan of matzah, and most of the passover desserts were awful, but I remember these moon shaped cookies that I loved. I’m not sure if they make them everywhere, but all the bakeries around here have them. They are crumbly like all passover cookies, but they taste kind of like shortbread.
    I don’t understand the concept of “diet” matzah, it just sounds like a good marketing technique to me! I wonder if they make gluten free matzah these days..

  12. Matzoh is delicious. Like an airy crispy ness with a bit of …tang? I always ate it…even though I’m not Jewish I live in Florida and grew up around Jews.
    You should demysitfy matzoh ball soup. Also very good.
    It really is so good.
    I once found some at Whole foods that were sea salt and black pepper…delicious.
    Sadly a dietician convinced me flour was evil or some crap like that so I haven’t had them since. Maybe that should change.

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