Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Passover confusion

On Sunday, my mother and I were talking about something, and she told me that she bought some frozen vegetable mix to eat during Passover. It included corn.

She was not happy when I told her that, as a grain, corn is not Pesach-friendly. Of course, that was the same thing that happened many years ago, when I told her that peanut butter was not kosher for Passover either.

This year, though, instead of my traditional confusion as to what I can and cannot eat during the holiday, I just decided to give up processed carbs altogether. Tonight I'm eating chicken on a salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Admittedly, my decision is mostly because matzo is gross, and because a strict interpretation of the rules has led me to conclude that everything good is prohibited anyway. But in addition, it's a giant experiment in the Atkins diet. Maybe it'll work and I'll lose 10 pounds, maybe it won't. But at least I won't inadvertently eat something leavened. (Like that time, in law school, when I went to a baseball game with some buddies and had a beer, forgetting that beer is made from grain. Or that not all vodka is made from potatoes -- even though it should be.)

And no matter what, it's better (read: more Jewish) than my brother -- who told me Sunday that he has given up cheese for Lent -- and my sister -- who didn't even remember that it was Passover until we spoke on the phone.

Plus, there was an extra added bonus: Yesterday, I packed up all of the cereal and pasta and cookies, etc., that I had in my kitchen and donated them to Bread in the City.


Justin S. said...

Where would I fall among your brother and sister? I know it's passover, yet I don't care. In fact, while I think people can and should do whatever they think is appropriate on passover... for me the appropriate thing to do is eat as much bread as you would normally eat, if not more.

My ancestors escaped slavery in Egypt so I could eat as much bread as I want.

Here's an analogy.... Let's say a homicidal maniac breaks into my house. I have to flee before I'm murdered. I run out the door, jump in my car, drive off... it's a snowy night, and I live in the Colorado, let's say... and I drive of a cliff, my car gets stuck, and no one can rescue me for 8 days. Fortunately, I just went to Costco and haven't emptied my car, and there are several boxes of, let's say, Grape Nuts. It's enough to sustain me.

I'm rescued after 8 days, go on with my life, reproduce, and someday tell my grandkids the whole story.

Then I die.

Now should my grandkids honor me by eating no cereal other than Grape Nuts for 8 days a year?

I wouldn't want that! Perhaps they could eat one bowl to honor me... sort of like I eat a little Matzah at the Seder. But I'd want my grandkids to eat whatever they want.

Dara said...

That's fine. It's your decision. But at least you knew it was a holiday.

e.b. said...

I used to be so good and then one year I just quit - 1/2 through the week I gave up. I think it was about 3 years ago. I have not looked back since. Terrible I know and I sit here eating mac and cheese. I am not sure I can go back to being motivated about it.

Dara said...

I don't know why I feel the need to do it, the same way I feel the need to fast on Yom Kippur. But everyone makes up their own rules anyway.

My dad -- who is of mostly Polish and Ukranian ancestry -- insists that he is Sephardic, so that he can eat rice. And my mom continues to believe that since her mom fed her peanut butter and jelly on matzo, it must be okay, despite the weight of authorities insisting that peanuts are not k-f-p.

Still, she goes through this whole charade where she doesn't eat things that are not kosher during passover -- despite the fact that she has not kept kosher one day since moving out of her mother's house. So, last week, she had to ensure to make the pork roast early enough that the leftovers were gone before the seder. And forget about the bacon. Yet, it's not like they have separate plates or pots and pans or anything. And let's not comment about how she made a sugar-free cheesecake on a macaroon base to be eaten as dessert after the brisket. (As far as I can tell, a number of sugar substitutes are not k-f-p either.)

Jason said...

In case your readers are interested...

"Chametz" is classified as:

1) all foods made with levening

2) cereals

3) The following grains:
a) wheat, b) oats, c) barley, d) smelt, e) corn (precise definition unclear)

4) What we call Kiniyot, these include:
Legumes, green beans, lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, and soya,

5) Foods derived from the above such as: pasta, beer, whisky

6) Sephardic Jews (Spanish and Portuguese origin) reject the idea of the kiniyot and tend to eat:
Green beans, Peas, Lentils, Rice, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts

7) Most US Jews eat peanuts and peanut butter and matzah has become part of the diet.

8) This year, Passover's laws go into effect around midday April 2 until the sighting of three stars on April 10th.

dara said...

Jason: 1) Where have you been for all these months? And don't give some lame excuse about school or whatever.

2) Like I said, I think everyone has their own traditions/interpretations the Passover rules. Even when they know better.