For all my Jewish friends: Remember having to awkwardly sing the Four Questions at your Passover Seder? Your stomach was grumbling because all you wanted was to get your hands on some brisket and matzah ball soup. And at the end of the questions, you still didn’t really have any answers.
Now that you’re a cool college grown-up, you might be asking some different questions about this holiday. We’re here to help.
1. On all other nights, we nosh on carbs galore. Why on this night do we ditch the bread?
We all know that you can’t eat bread on Passover because when the Jewish people left Egypt they didn’t have time to let their bread rise, so it became matzah. (Ta-da!) But according to Jewish law, there are a whole bunch of things that qualify as chametz, the Hebrew word for anything you can’t eat on Passover. These include the five major grains, which are wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt, as well as rice, corn, peanuts, and legumes.
Essentially, your carb of choice for the week is matzah. This also means that you can no longer sit on the floor at 2 AM with your roommate eating Skinny Pop out of the bag. It’s just eight days, people.
2. On all other nights we enjoy a variety of snacks. On this night, how we dress up our matzah?
When dealing with a matzah-heavy diet on Passover, there’s the trifecta of classic matzah toppings: cream cheese, butter, or pizza sauce and mozzarella. Those are enough to get you through a few days without getting bored, but they also are one-size-fits-all matzah meals. And we understand that. So we, your resident rabbinical authorities here in Ann Arbor (just kidding), graciously put together some matzah-based combos based on your individual needs.
- If you have a sweet tooth: melted chocolate + sliced strawberries + 10 min in the fridge. (Nutella isn’t technically kosher for Passover because hazelnuts are legumes, so chocolate will have to do.)
- If you’re feeling gourmet: olive oil + goat cheese crumbles + herbs + toaster oven. It’s like a flatbread, basically.
- If it’s time for breakfast: make matzah brei—are you even kidding? And put some powdered sugar on it, for the love of Moses.
- If you’re constipated: put down the matzah and try some fruit.
- If you’re nostalgic for a bagel: put some cream cheese and lox on it and remember that this holiday is only eight days long.
If none of these work for you: remember you can still eat non-matzah-based meals like fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. But there’s really only once a year when it’s socially acceptable to break out what is essentially a giant cracker, so if I were you, I’d just find some way to live it up.
Remember that the possibilities are endless, and by endless I mean there aren’t that many of them but you should try to make the best of this holiday because it’s what our people have been doing for 5,000 years.
3. On all other nights I eat only pizza and pasta. What if I am a picky eater?
This is Passover. You can’t afford to be picky. Next question.
4. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays I always drink vodka. Why on this night can I not?
Okay. So I have good news and I have bad news. Bad news: if you refer back to question #1, you will see that corn is off the table, and vodka is made out of corn, and therefore vodka is technically off the table. Good news: A few really nice understanding brands actually make potato vodka. Bad news: I’ve heard from a reliable source that potato vodka is largely vile. Good news: there is plenty of kosher for Passover wine to go around.
In conclusion: If the Jewish people wandered the desert for 40 years, you can probably survive eight days without cheesy bread or whatever your chametz-laden vice may be. Take this opportunity to go low-carb, to spring clean your kitchen, to test out some new recipes, or just to eat like Moses for a solid week. Your Bubbe would be so proud.