Last night began the Jewish holiday of Passover, celebrating the Israelites’ escape from slavery. If you know any Jewish folks you may see them bringing matzo for lunch over the next seven days in observance of the holiday. Matzo is unleavened bread. It’s just flour and water, but the flour can only be from wheat, barley, spelt, rye and/or oats. (the five grains mentioned in the Torah). I’ve had the kids ask me if we could eat pizza and pita, but no – even though they are flat – they are not unleavened. It is not unusual for kids to make a little field trip to the local matzo bakery to make a batch of their own matzo – so it isn’t technically difficult, but for the holiday you need to buy shmura matzo that’s kosher for Passover. What makes this different from the year-round matzo is that the ingredients (specifically the wheat) are watched from time of harvest through production to insure that it stays clean and dry. It can’t get wet and start to ferment.
In our household we usually buy the mother ship big box that includes 5 regular sized boxes of matzo right before Passover. It’s like the miracle of the fishes in that it lasts until September, because even during Passover you can only eat so much matzo. This year I’ve noticed a bunch of new recipes on the matzo box, like matzo 18-layer s’mores cake and chocolate caramelized matzo crisp . I’ve also heard about “matzagna,” which is lasagna with matzo subbing for the traditional long, flat noodle.
But there are folks who enjoy matzo all year long, and there is great diversity among these year-round matzos. You got your egg matzo, onion matzo, whole wheat matzo, and everything matzo. It’s great with PB&J and Nutella. You can crunch it up in a bowl, mix it with eggs and fry it up in a skillet….. liberally salt and eat it for breakfast. Or dinner, like I might do tonight. Yum.