Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On Unleavened Bread

This is probably the last thing I will say about being Jewish until Chanukah.

That's a bold-faced lie. I'll have to make a Jew joke before then. But it would not be a lie to say this is probably the last thing I will say about Jewish Holidays until then. Hell, I can only name three others off the top of my head, so odds are pretty good, I'd imagine.

"Let me tell you what it was like before the Dark Times, before the Empire…."

In any event, it is now officially Passover, and that means Jewish lkids the world over are going to school having to explain their peanut butter and jelly matzo sandwiches to everyone else at the lunch table. I don't have a terrible problem with matzo. It's actually quite delicious under cream cheese or jelly or both, or yes even peanut butter. It's no more terrible than Wheat Thins or an unsalted Ritz cracker.

However it occurs to me that matzo has no relation to the unleavened bread it supposedly symbolizes.

Matzo is made without leavening agents of any kind. Though it probably fails other "Kosher for Passover"/Parve tests, Wonder Bread even qualifies as it is puffed up with blasts of air and not yeast for the sake of expediency. Matzo is a ban on carbs that take time to rise.

"… this bitter Herb-" "Why are you saying it like that?" "Like what?"
"Putting so much emphasis on the H."

Yet in the story of Passover, the Jews in exile baked cakes of unleavened bread because they were in a rush to get out while the getting was good. (Considering an army chased after them because pharaoh changed his mind, not altogether a bad decision.) Consider that: they baked the unleavened bread. It does not say, "They prepared bread without leavening," it says they "baked [the] unleavened bread."

The Jews made their dough as per usual, but then baked it right away instead of waiting for it to rise. If we're being historically accurate about this, we should be eating bread that was prepared as if it were to be set aside to rise, and then baking the hell out of it immediately.

We should be chewing yeasty, gross, chewy-ass bread roughly akin to the pre-buttered breadsticks my mom finds in the back of the freezer aisle at her local Discount Food Plus.

"Let my babies go!"

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