Takeout Nation, I have learned, is a house divided against itself. I think we’ll be able to keep standing, but it will require a lot of compassion and tact and acceptance from all of us if we’re to keep marching forward in our tireless exploration of the culinary world.
The issue that divides us, of course, is matzo. Allison and I have been debating this for months. She loves it and doesn’t understand why I don’t share her love. This is a typical attitude among non-Jews, as we saw last week in a lively debate in the comments section of Jeff Ruby’s story about hamantaschen. Sure, matzo’s great if you have a taste of it every now and again. But try eating that shit for eight days straight. (Allison plans to undertake that challenge this year, by the way, and I fully support her.)
Passover isn’t just about matzo, though. Depending on where you’re from, you may be required to give up all grains and lentils because of the slight possibility that it may be infested with yeast or other impurities. (Kosher laws vary from region to region. In general, Eastern European Jews and their descendents tend to be stricter than everybody else.) Fortunately, Manischewitz and KAYCO, two of the largest kosher food manufacturers, are happy to step into the breach and sell you kosher-for-Passover facsimiles of all the food you love and devour during the rest of the year. They are both also highly responsive to food trends. Yesterday I got a press release in my email that touts some of this year’s new offerings: Gluten-Free Sicilian-Style Pizza, Absolutely Gluten Free Stacked Potato Chips (available in three flavors), almond milk, granola, and two updates on one of my childhood favorites, Manischewitz macaroons: Cold Brew Coffee and Earl Gray. (There’s also Birthday Cake.)
I have to admit, I haven’t really paid much attention to Passover convenience food since I got old enough to start cooking for myself. Is there anything I should be on the lookout for this year? And also, please feel free to revive the matzo battle here, mostly because you all entertained me so much and because I am glad to know I am not alone among Jews in my hatred of matzo.