It’s Passover!

29 Mar

Tonight marks the start of an important holiday for Jews like me–it’s the first night of Passover. Like any good Jewish holiday, it’s really all about the food (all that stuff about being freed from slavery and saved from the 10 plagues…secondary). I have to say, though, that for as meaningful as Passover is, the food is crap. I’m starting to wonder if there’s a direct correlation between the importance of the holiday and the quality of the food.

Think about it. Hanukkah, a minor holiday, has treats like gelt and potato latkes. Purim, also fairly minor, has hamantashen (though the quality of that food is still up for debate). Yom Kippur, the most important, has no food.  And then there’s Passover. It’s quite important, yet the food genuinely sucks. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Matza. Although versatile (think Bubba from Forrest Gump, only use matza instead of shrimp…matza brie, matza pizza, matza and cream cheese…you get the point), and a staple of the Passover diet, a shoe box has more taste than a piece of mazta. Seriously, how tasty can something that looks like a piece of cardboard really be?
  2. Chopped liver. It’s as appetizing as it sounds. A mash of what I assume is liver, onion and eggs, it’s brown, it’s smelly and has the strangest texture I’ve ever seen. Overall, it’s just disgusting. Now, many, many Jews will disagree with me (yes, Mom, I mean you) but that’s fine. I’ll be the one at the table able to open my mouth because my breath doesn’t smell like a sewer.
  3. Charoses. Another winner. How appealing is something that is supposed to represent mortar? You know, the stuff that holds bricks together. Yeah, it’s not meant to be food. On the surface, though, it seems like it should taste good–walnuts, apples, red wine, cinnamon and something that I can’t remember. Unfortunately, it’s inedible.
  4. Macaroons. These things are just foul and wrong. And that’s all I have to say about that.
  5. Gefilte fish. Gefilte fish is really just a big mash of deboned fish, rolled into a beige, ovalesque ball and canned with jelly so disgusting I get nauseous thinking about it. To disguise its hideousness, my family serves it a bed of lettuce and surrounded by tomatoes and cucumbers. In reality, it’s the scrapple of the  fish world:

Not all Passover food is gross. There’s potato kugel, matza ball soup (not made with the aforementioned cardboard, sorry, matza) and…well, I can’t think of anything else.  Ok, there are some Passover candies that are acceptable. But that’s it.

As I’ve mentioned, food is really important to Jews. One would think we’d come up with a way to make holiday food taste better. Sorry Jamie Oliver, but that would be a food revolution!


3 Responses to “It’s Passover!”

  1. Tina March 30, 2010 at 10:59 am #


    Just want to say i LOVE your blog but i’m sorry i have to disagree with this post.
    Being part Jewish myself i always look forward to Passover foods. Besides the historical importance of the food I love it. But I think its the way you eat it that matters.

    1. I agree. Matzoh is pretty horrible. Its cardboard. Its bland. Its YUCK. But it serves its purpose. I like schmearing a little cream cheese and jelly on it or even some of the dreaded chopped liver. Viola-transformation.

    2. Chopped liver. I happen to love the stuff and i happen to make it fresh (Thank you Kitchen aid masher) It is what it is- Chopped liver. Each mother,grandmother,aunt have their own recipe. It can include Egg. It can include chopped radishes. But it needs to include schmaltz. My arteries have just clogged from thinking about this. Perhaps you have an adverse reaction to liver itself,perhaps why you hate it so much? Also if it smells-that means its spoiled. PS. Mints. They help

    3. I agree but its tradition so eh

    4. Chocolate covered macaroons. Heaven. Try it!

    5. Gefilte Fish. You must be referring to the ones in the jar which i don’t eat. Some people make it from scratch and it come in a roll that you slice. No jelly included. I also heart the horseradish that goes on it to give it its extra kick. Its more of a fish dumpling than a fish mash.

    Other holiday foods- Lamb shank, pickles,borscht. I’m sure there is more. Thats what my family served.

    In conclusion, its not the food that needs changing (after all its been around for ever) its the perception or the preparation. I’m sure Jamie Oliver can spruce it up, but truthfully- would that goy get you to eat things that make your cringe??

    • janalynch March 30, 2010 at 11:17 am #


      you make some good points. and i will concede that the fresh gefilte fish is just slightly better than the jarred, especially smothered in horseradish (only red, though). the other ones, though, i cannot concede that anything will make them better, regardless of a change in perception, preparation or even if the leftovers magically turn to diamonds at the end of the night (well, that might help)–and i’ve tried them all at one point (i’m also a vegetarian, so that rules out the chopped liver for me). but that’s what i love about food–everyone has her own opinions and tastes.

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