If you are like me you try to do things right. Have the best intentions, and all that jazz. Of course, there’s always a bit of the struggle. Especially when you are a bread lover/aficionado/obsessive-compulsive eater and you are a Jew during Passover.
This presents a challenge.
A tough challenge.
I overcompensate my anxiety over not being able to eat bread during Passover by hyperpurchasing. Hyperpurchasing means, instead of five boxes of matzo (the unleavened cracker one should replace bread for during the week of Passover) I buy twelve. Because I figure, if my counter (already cluttered with Lulu (my fabulous, hot red mixer) toaster oven, Magic Bullet, and blender (still waiting on the Vitamix gift, folks!) is crammed with an excessive amount of matzo boxes, then this will, in turn, convince me to make the bread-to-matzo leap for the seven allotted days successfully.
Now don’t get me wrong- I’m as excited about matzo as the next Jew. And in some circles, believe me, it’s reason to party. In this household, matzo and butter tango lavishly and decadently at least three times a day. Worries about hypertension vanish as exuberant amounts of salt get thrown into the mix. It is crunchy, creamy heaven, with lots of crumbs and no dog to lap up the mess.
Then there’s the charoset: that delicious mix of matzo, dates, prunes, apples and lots of wine made during the Seder to symbolize the mortar the Jews used when they were slaves in Egypt. That stuff is killer – especially if you are lucky enough to have my husband prepare his mother’s secret recipe. Slap some of that magic on a piece of matzo and taste buds go willy-nilly.
And of course, who can deny any child the delight of matzo pizza, which is as easy as pizza sauce (bottled, or in our case, homemade), cheese and a toaster oven? Is this not the quintessential American Jew snack come Passover week?
I still get restless. Antsy. Anxious. Perhaps it’s my Sephardic roots possibly placing me in Spain five hundred years ago. Have you had the bread there? Once in your DNA, well, no amount of pizza sauce will get it out.
So I continue toying with my twelve boxes. I make Matzo Brei, another favorite American Jewish delight: eggs, matzo pieces, cinnamon all mixed up and fried together then drizzled with maple syrup- it’s like a deconstructed version of French toast: I even get a bit fancy and add a splash of Port wine (or some leftover sweet red Manischewitz wine) or some orange zest to freshen it up.
But after three days of no bread I get cranky. Really cranky. I’m not nice when I’m cranky. I try and put it in perspective. . . I have it good- no need to worry about Pharaoh granting me freedom, changing his mind after agreeing to give it to me, or having to escape and take off in the middle of the hot desert only to be confronted by a huge Red Sea that I’d have no idea how to cross (don’t worry, for those of you not up on the story, Moses parts it and all the Jews get safely across.) These guys had it tough! Surely to commemorate my ancestors I could deal with a bread-free week?
So I keep getting creative with my matzo in hopes of compensation. My daughter suggests elevating the pizza snack into a formal breakfast and I eagerly acquiesce to this idea, scrambling some eggs and gently placing them on top before popping the whole thing in the oven. It’s a simple treat – buttery eggs meld nicely with the oozing cheese and the crispy matzo. The pizza sauce holds it all together, giving it all a Mexican breakfast burrito feel, but with a twist. We both gobble up two slabs of Breakfast Passover Pizza and I am feeling happy and full. My daughter looks over at our counter and eases away any bread anxiety that may still be gnawing at me.
“Thank goodness you got so much matzo, mom! I want this every day for breakfast!”
Breakfast Passover Pizza
2 eggs, scrambled
1/8 cup pizza sauce
½ cup shredded cheese
Spread sauce on matzo. Add scrambled eggs. Sprinkle with cheese. Pop in toaster oven for two minutes.