The Modern Passover: Shirk Tradition? A Foodie’s Challenge

2 Apr

Every year since I was about twelve, I have been adhering strictly to the Passover tradition of eating only unleavened bread products.  A solid eight days sans cookies, cakes, breads, etc. was at first a challenge, but eventually was doable.  I will never forget my first epic Passover fail–at age eleven, on a family trip to Deleware, I was so famished that I broke down and scarfed up a Nathan’s Philly Cheesesteak sandwhich.  Let’s just say I tried harder the next year.

Although I find the holiday an enjoyable tradition, as I love matzo, it conflicts with Easter, a holiday my family also observes.  Every other year we cannot make a bunny cake for the festive Spring holiday because it is a leaved product, and Passover tortes are not a  great replacement. 

peach and pineapple kugel!!

peach and pineapple kugel!!

This year is another one of those years.  Although I will take pleasure in the large spread–matzo ball soup; charoset; matzo; brisket; sweet and sour cabbage; peach and pineapple kugel; and hard boiled eggs–I will find myself lacking a fluffy, coconut covered bunny cake just days later.

In ancient Egypt, as the story goes, Moses created ten plagues against the Egyptians in order to gain the Pharaoh’s permission to leave bondage.  After the tenth plague hit, the Pharaoh relented, allowing the Israelites’ departure. 

The Israelites hurried to gather everything they could for their exodus from Egypt, and many made bread dough for sustenance along the way.  However, the Israelites knew that the Egyptians could change their minds, and they rushed out across the Red Sea.  The bread that they baked hadn’t had time to rise, and so we eat only unleavened breads like matzo to commemorate this. 

This Passover, I ask a fifth question: What would the Israelites do? (WWID?)  In a modern day exodus, the Israelites would be in a similar rush, but they would not think to bake bread.  Rather, speeding away from  the Egyptians in their cars, they would pull into the nearest drive-thrus and buy as many burgers and chicken nuggets as they could.

This Passover, I wonder:  could the modern interpretive  observation of the holiday be to eat only fast food?  “Quick!  A Wendy’s–as long as it’s not the Baconator, I think we’re good,” the modern Israelites would have said.  Or perhaps a McMuffin for Moses; Arby’s for Aaron? 

It would technically be a sacrifice to give up fresh, homemade meals.  Also, the indigestion so often followed by excessive matzo consumption would be equalled by that imposed on gurgling bellies by Big Macs.  Although I guess strict adherence to this diet would exclude me from a homemade bunny cake, it is food for thought.

Pose this question as one of the many at your seder table this year. : )


2 Responses to “The Modern Passover: Shirk Tradition? A Foodie’s Challenge”

  1. otherwisealilly April 2, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    peach AND pineapple? Whaa?!?

    {ps, great thought-provoking post}

    • getinmebelly April 2, 2009 at 1:16 am #

      its actually something my family has been eating at Passover every year, and it’s addicting to say the least. It’s made with matzo farfel, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pineapple and peach cottage cheese. It’s almost like a baked pudding and really comforting

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