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The futility of not-kosher-for-Passover matzo meal

March 13, 2012

Matzo ball and chicken soup I found a recipe for matzo ball soup in this month’s Cooking Light magazine, cut it out, and put the ingredients on the shopping list so we could try it out before Passover to see if it’s any good. Unfortunately, the only matzo meal to be found anywhere is labeled as not being kosher for Passover. Baffled, I read the label aloud in the aisle at the store: “Its says ‘Not kosher for Passover.’ Is this for real?” My husband — who’d accompanied me on the trip as we slowly try to acclimate him to how one shops in an American grocery store without freaking out about how cheap everything is — was speechless. Finally he mustered up two words: “That’s offensive.”

An overreaction, probably, but I shared the sentiment to some extent. This matzo (which I’ll call matzah from now on, since that’s what we say at home) meal was an offense to matzah, which no one I know would ever eat if it weren’t a Passover tradition, a time when even many secular Jews keep kosher. Once upon a time I read a newspaper article about Israeli Arabs who love the taste of matzot (hard, thin crackers made of matzah) and stock up on cases and cases of the stuff during Passover in Israel, a phenomenon Jewish friends found baffling but ultimately amusing (in a rather condescending sort of way, I felt). But I never imagined Americans might be eating matzah for the taste too. Why else would a store sell matzah that isn’t appropriate to be eaten for Passover?

Not as offensive as it is futile, I think. Who’s buying this stuff?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. qousqous permalink
    March 13, 2012 12:00 pm

    I’ve bought matzo meal for soup and even occasionally matzot for snacking all times of year, and I’ve never kept kosher.

  2. March 19, 2012 1:26 pm

    Many American Jews eat matzo ball soup all year round, not just for Pesach – it’s aimed at them.

    PS While personally I find matzah somewhat less palatable than cardboard my grandfather loved it and would eat it whenever he could get it.

    • March 20, 2012 11:27 am

      Clearly I need more exposure to non-Israeli Jewish ways! We’ve been trying out some matzah recipes in preparation for Passover and some are good enough to eat year round, in my opinion, but my husband, like most Israelis I know, is so conditioned to view matzah as untasty that he is horrified by the idea.

  3. March 19, 2012 2:05 pm

    Wow, that is unbelievable! I can understand Shlomo’s sentiment.

    It’s matzot and matzo meal on the rage over here, as you can imagine 🙂 And forget matzot or wine that is kosher for Passover, Yuval’s brother went to buy food for his dog and cat and was astonished to find that they were only selling “Kosher for Passover” versions of pet food right now.

    • March 20, 2012 11:13 am

      Isn’t that crazy? I think it must have something to do with a store maintaining its kosher standing. Maybe it can’t sell anything that’s not kosher for Passover, although there doesn’t seem to be a problem with keeping non-kosher items in the store as long as they’re covered up and off limits, even to those who really want them… or something?

  4. March 20, 2012 7:30 am

    So I wonder what the difference is? An extra processing step? Or are they stuffing it with filler that makes it not “Kosher for Pesach”? I would suspect the latter.

    As a gentile who loves mazto ball soup at Rose’s Deli in Portland, OR, I can attest that lots of us eat it year round.

    • March 20, 2012 11:23 am

      I asked about that and was told that even if a food contains no chametz it’s still not kosher for Passover unless it’s processed and packaged in a place that stops making all non-kosher-for-Passover items during some mandated time frame. The matzah meal I found was made by Manischewitz, which I know makes plenty of kosher-for-Passover products, so my best guess is that this particular kind of matzah must not have been made in the Passover-friendly factory. Maybe.

      • March 26, 2012 10:18 am

        Yesterday when I went to the grocery they had the whole place torn apart. At first I thought the dairy case was broken, but then I realized they were cleaning. I knew this happened in homes, but I never even thought about the implications of ridding a grocery of chametz. They must hire crews of extra people to get this done.

      • March 26, 2012 3:19 pm

        Now that you mention it, I imagine it must be a seasonable boom in hiring. Before Passover last year, I went to a huge grocery store on the border with Bnei Brak, which caters to a heavily ultra-orthodox clientele, and they had thrown all their chametz into an open field nearby and had huge posters up showing rabbis around a bonfire with slogans ensuring the store was chametz-free. It was very intense!

      • March 28, 2012 10:49 am

        Wow, that is something. I saw a website called Operation Zero Chametz that encouraged selling your chametz to gentiles online. It was kind of funny, but I respect the initiative to not waste food.


  1. The futility of not-kosher-for-Passover matzo meal: Part 2 « From 外人 to גוי
  2. Midwestern retail multiculturalism « From 外人 to גוי

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