What Matzah Means to Me
Passover is set to begin tonight, and one of the main symbols of the eight day holiday is matzah, unleavened flat bread made from flour and water that lacks yeast. Any Jewish observer could explain the story behind it, but that is not the main focus of this post. Instead, several Onward State staff members are here to give you their take on matzah ranging from overall feeling towards it, significant experiences, and even some recipes to try:
Drew Balis (@drewBbalis)
During my childhood and through my senior year of high school, I always made sure to observe Passover. When I arrived at college, it became more difficult. With a time crunched schedule and a need to eat in order to get work done, it sometimes became difficult to prepare and consume adequate meals that did not involve bread products. Still though, I make sure to purchase matzah come Passover time. To anyone trying it for the first time, the best thing I can recommend is: do not eat it dry. My personal favorite thing to put on it is peanut butter. It’s not difficult at all to prepare and makes for a good snack.
From another angle, matzah has played a big part in my life in terms of the Afikomen, a game played after a Passover seder where one attempts to find a hidden half piece of matzah. Games between my brother and cousins were downright intense. Often times, the piece would not make it back to the table wihout being destroyed (that’s not technically supposed to happen), and cheating likely took place once or twice by some parties. I haven’t played since 2009, but looking back on it, I’m surprised no one was ever seriously injured in the process. If my brother and cousin happen to read this before tonight, I hope you make me proud. Go all out.
Laurel Petrulionis (@LaurelOutLoud)
I’m not any religion, but I eat matzah more than bread. I went to a pre-school dominated with Jewish kids, so through lunch envy, I guess I got my mom to start getting matzah. My personal favorites are matzah pizza, with just sauce and cheese, and matzah peanut butter and jelly. I basically always have a box in my room whether it’s passover or not.
Ally Greer (@allygreer)
Matzah pizza is one of the best things in the world. Also, my roommates and I make matzah nachos with refried beans, melted cheese etc. Chocolate covered matzah, matza Brie, and matzah with cream cheese (an oldie but a goodie) are also some good recipes to try.
Zach Berger (@theZachBerger)
A rabbi brings his Passover lunch down to the park and sits down a bench when he notices a blind man sitting next to him. In light of the holiday spirit, he was feeling giving, so the rabbi broke off a piece of matzah and offered it to the man. After about a minute of rubbing his hand over the unleavened bread, the blind man turned to the rabbi and said, “Who writes this crap?”
All joking aside, matzah is truly one of the greatest Jewish delicacies in the world. While that boxed, factory-made stuff isn’t bad, it doesn’t come close to matching the circular, semi-burnt matzah that you can get from any Jewish bakery. While people do some pretty crazy things with theirs, I prefer to keep it simple: just a little schmear of butter and a sprinkle of salt. If you buy the good stuff, you don’t want to overwhelm it’s hand-made, oven-baked flavor.
I’m Jewish, and every passover my Grandma makes matzah ball soup. It’s amazing. It’s heaven in a bowl. We also partake in a Jewish tradition where the adults hide a piece of matzah called the Afikomen and the kids look for it. It’s really fun and whoever finds it gets a reward, which is usually money (What do you expect? I said I was Jewish). Finding the Afikomen is one of my favorite childhood memories.
What Matzah means to me can be summed up in 3 words: Matzah Fuckin Pizza. My dad was a master chef when it came to three things: omelettes, pancakes, and matzah pizza. It wouldn’t even be the right time of year and I’d be in the kitchen demanding, “Dad! Make me matzah pizza!” You can say I was spoiled, but I just loved matzah pizza that much.
Luckily he looked past all that, and shared with me his secret recipe. It has been in our family for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. I will now share this recipe so that more people might get to know and love Matzah Pizza as I once did. I asked for permission (what kind of son do you think I am?). Surprisingly, he’s alright with it.
Matzah Pizza Ingredients
-And of course, matzah
Put the pasta sauce on the matzah, and then grate some cheese on top. As for amounts, you just gotta feel it. Then, put the Matzah on some tin foil and put that in the oven at 350 for a couple minutes. Enjoy your matzah pizza, you’re welcome World.