As a carb-crazy, bagel-loving Jew, surviving Passover in college may just be my worst nightmare. Sure chocolate covered matzah isn't that bad, but when you actually have to eat cardboard bread for 8 days, it's pure torture. With not a Jewish deli in sight, and my Jewish grandmother 800 miles north, it looks like this Passover I'll be forced to fend for myself.
No college student has time to whip up a personal seder, and let's face it, jarred gefilte fish is just nasty. But don't worry, we're in this together. Here are a few tips for not only surviving Passover in college, but also for preserving your sanity.
1. Pretend You Like Matzah
It's not easy, but with the right fixings, matzah can be your best friend. Try avocado matzah "toast," or swap out the bread for matzah to make yourself a matzah sandwich. Top your matzah with red sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil and you've got yourself a slightly disappointing, yet still tolerable, matzah margherita pizza.
You can put anything on this sh*t. From s'mores matzah to nacho matzah, the possibilities are endless. And if you have extra time in the morning, don't forget about everyone's favorite Passover take on french toast: matzah brei.
2. Trader Joe's Frozen Latkes Are a Godsend
Okay, now these are seriously a game changer. Latkes are an every-meal kind of dish. They're one of the few Passover foods I would consume by choice all year long, and Trader Joe's frozen latkes could not be easier to make in your dorm. For breakfast, try the classic "bagel" latkes with smoked salmon, red onion, and capers. You can even do fried eggs or eggs Benedict latke style.
For a snack, top your latkes with hummus, pesto, cheese, veggies, and even guacamole. Scavenge for something in your dining hall to make a latke sandwich, or even try my favorite: latke grilled cheese. At the end of the day, these frozen gems are still amazing on their own. After all, latkes are no joke.
3. Matzah Balls Never Get Old
Matzah balls never go out of style, and a good old matzah ball soup doesn't require hours in the kitchen. All you need is matzah ball mix, oil, and eggs and you can stockpile matzah balls in your fridge or freezer for the week. Simply heat them up in the microwave, or add some chicken broth, and you can forget that Jewish deli pre-made soup.
4. Show Your Dining Hall Who's Boss
It may be hard to walk past the pasta station or pizza line, but there are tons of gluten-free and carb-free options in college dining halls. All you have to do is be crafty and possibly BYOM (bring your own matzah). Soups, yogurt, veggies, fruit, and meat (hold the bacon) can all help you cope with the pain of carb deprivation.
The Passover diet is much more bearable with some moral support. Find a Jewish friend, or any friend looking to join your carb detox, in order to help you survive Passover in college. You can also look into Jewish organizations on your campus, and even organize or attend seders with other Jewish students.
5. When In Doubt, Eat a Salad
No one wants to resort to sad lettuce leaves. But when you're about to cave, run to your dining hall salad bar, close your eyes, and tell yourself it's almost over.
Surviving Passover in college isn't all that bad. Now, get out there, and show that bread you can in fact drool over it without hyperventilating.
And When It's Over...
Treat yourself. Bubbie would be proud.