Saturday, March 31, 2012


Well, look at that...Passover and Easter will fall the same weekend. I wonder how Jews For Jesus will celebrate...keeping in mind that the Last Supper was actually a seder? Ham bone instead of a lamb bone? Easter Pie instead of Potato Kugel? Shrimp along with gefilte fish? Jewish holidays...we fought, we won, we eat. The eating part when most of them involve a few traditional dishes, such as potato pancakes during Channukah. Passover, is a biggie when it comes to food. Kosher foods may not make it on the seder table or the whole week, for that matter. They have to be "Kosher For Passover".

My mother was raised Orthodox, my father Conservative. When it came time for Passover, the dishes were switched to the glass ones. Food that was not Kosher for Passover (chometz) was eaten up or thrown away (or placed in the top cupboard for after Passover). No bread...just matzoh. No ketchup...had to put the beet horseradish on everything. I went to Hebrew school for a year so for whatever reason (even though my older sister did as well), I wound up reading and reciting it all during the seder with a lot of "hurry up, I'm hungry" reactions.

Then there was that year when one of the ketchup companies came out with one that was "Kosher For Passover". What! Did the ingredients change? Was there pork in the one before? It was either Heinz or Hunts. There went my religious food eating. Now I don't keep kosher and eat most foods. My seders as an adult became really about traditional food vs KFP. Matzhoh, gefilte fish, hard boiled egg in salt water, charoseth (a sort of paste of chopped walnut, apples and wine), chicken soup with matzoh balls, chopped chicken livers, tzimmes (combo of carrots and sweet potatoes).

So I'm out shopping at Fairway Market in Douglaston. I see a Hunts Catsup and a KFP brand that is neither Hunt's nor Heinz to compare. I understood that it was all about the use of corn syrup. Hunt's doesn't contain corn syrup and neither did this brand. Never having seen this brand, I don't know as to whether the non-KFP has corn syrup.

There is also those delicious chocolate covered Joyva jelly rings...wait...they contain corn syrup! What the...The label has some long thing about whether you are Sephardic or Ashkenazic. Serphardic has to do with countries like the Middle East, Africa, Spain, Italy...vs ones like Poland, Germany, Austria and Russia and considered Ashkenazic.

GOOD GRIEF! I can only go as far back on ancestry dot com as my grandparents and maybe one or two great grandparents...Jews have been wandering for centuries! Think of it...if I have any ancestors that were slaves in Egypt who gave birth, then I would be considered to have some African roots. In the meantime I only got Poland, Austria and Russia in regards to grandparents and couldn't look further...which makes me a Euro-American.

So what's with KFP foods other than it being blessed by a rabbi? Freshness, for one and just as there are certain goodies that are only around during Easter, there are the ones around during Passover. Easter has chocolate Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs (You'd think that the powers to be would have made bunnies to lay eggs to make it easier), while now is the chance to indulge in dark chocolate covered matzohs.

For those of you that love soda...I believe...but I'll now have to look at the labels...that you can get your favorite brand of cola made with sugar vs corn syrup.

Then there are the gluten-free products, since flour is a no-no...unless it's flour from a matzoh...I'm so confused!

I do have to share a funny. Fairway Market has been setting it up to have coffee that is KFP. I had to ask. I called to speak with someone who was working in the coffee area vs the coffee monger. He told me that beans from Columbia were brought in separately from any others so that there would not be any "contamination" (coffee in itself is considered to be kosher). "The coffee roaster is cleaned out, the beans are roasted, the rabbi says a prayer and then he sprinkles Holy Water." I broke into laughter and said, "I don't think so".

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