My first taste of passover food was in my freshman year in the dining hall. Just next to the lukewarm buffets of pasta and wild rice pilaf was a small folding table adorned with what looked like oversized Saltine crackers.
“It’s matzah,” my roommate said. “It’s what Jewish people eat on Passover.”
Matzah? Like Matzah ball soup? My only understanding of Matzah was the time when my mother, an immigrant from Hong Kong, once returned from the grocery store with a prepared mix for Matzah ball soup, proudly proclaiming that we were going to, “be Jewish tonight!” I remember sitting down to dinner, looking down at this golfball-sized, beige blob of dough bobbing around in a pool of yellow broth not particularly impressed.
I watched my roommate (who for the record was born and raised Catholic) adroitly assemble what I later came to know as a Matzah pizza: a crispy piece of Matzah topped with a thin layer of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheese, microwaved for no more than 30 seconds.
Genius, right? Days of bland balls of dough evaporated from my memory.
“And what’s this?” I asked her, picking up a spoon that rested in a container of what looked like apples, cinnamon and some kind of nut.
“Oh that stuff’s good,” she said grabbing a small bowl and filling it up with the mixture. I read the label on the container and saw that it was called “Haroset.” Trusting her, I quickly followed suit.
For the next eight days, I headed straight for the Matzah pizza station, eager to try out my next combination. Dabbling with parmesan cheese from the pasta bar on my Matzah pizzas to Haroset with my cookies, I saw no limits. The world was my grainless oyster.
Since then, I have always looked to those eight April days as an adventurous and exciting time in my regularly programmed eating schedule. To prepare for this highly-anticipated holiday as a decidedly non-Jewish individual in a sea of birthright trips and Shabat dinners at Hillel, I have devised a list of delicious, nutritious and (slightly) religious snacks to enjoy whether or not you’ve been studying the Torah since day one.
Haroset and Peanut Butter Toast (or Matzah)
We all know there is no wrong that can be done in the presence of apples and peanut butter. Now imagine if you added cinnamon, honey and walnuts? I’m pretty sure you’re morning toast doesn’t get any better than this.
Haroset and Oatmeal
Let’s just put Haroset on everything breakfast-related and call it a day.
Matzah Ball Soup with Kale, White Beans and Other Minestrone-esque Offerings
Because Matzah ball soup is on the, err, rather bland side, you can easily take things up a notch with traditional soup offerings such as a dark leafy green or stewed legumes.
Matzah Pizza and Salad Bar Offerings such as Peppers, Onions and Sausage
Broiled or microwaved to perfection, there is really no way you can go wrong with this customizable, portable and law-abiding meal.
Horseradish With Your Boring ol’ Turkey Sandwich, Salad Dressing or Savory Breakfast Omelette
The Internet tells me horseradish falls within the requisite Sedar food of “bitter herb.” My dad tells me to eat it with my roast beef. For those of us who don’t have a good two to three pounds of beef lying around, consider swapping a bit of horseradish on your deli meat or in your salad. Check out some of these innovative ways to incorporate this eye-watering herb into your everyday kitchen.
Matzo Chocolate Bark
I swore I wasn’t going to talk about Matzah anymore, but this Matzah toffee with almonds is so ingenious I couldn’t hold back. And if you just ain’t got time for that toffee-melting labor, just melt some chocolate chips on some Matzo and sprinkle it whatever other sweet or nutty offerings you have lying around.