Sunday, May 1, 2011

my cornflakes are orange

and other Passover oddities.

Passover made me crazy. Not as crazy as the lady I saw literally running through the grocery store on the day before the Seder, but crazier than normal. I procrastinated on the cleaning, and ended up pulling an old person's all-nighter (up until 4AM) to get it all done. The kids were so wound up from eating our sugar stash, it was ludicrous. as of 2 days before Passover all that remained was this: Which isn't really so much, considering I take away 90% of the candy they get given in this sugar-obsessed culture. I give it out as rewards occasionally, but we never eat even half of what we get. Some of it I just throw out because I don't want to deal with it (suckers, BB sized puffs of MSG), some I eat (the good chocolate!), and the rest gets binged on right before Passover. anything left 24 hours before bedikat chometz (the time you look for last bits of leavening in the house) hits the trash.

I'm sure you're wondering how and why my cornflakes are orange. I'm getting to that. In case you don't know anything about Passover, let me give you the skinny (or the kitzur, in Hebrew). At Passover we get rid of all food that has Chometz. Chometz is any substance derived from wheat, oats rye spelt or barley, and it hides in everything. Citric acid? From wheat. No kidding. it's in everything. not to mention the obvious forms: Bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, etc. anything that could even have a little speck of this stuff has got to go. So, processed foods for passover have a special kosher certification. If you are an Ashkenazi Jew (North and East European) you also have to get corn, rice and legumes out of your diet. HFCS? oh yeah. peanuts? them too. If you are Sephardi (Spanish, North African, and Middle Eastern Jew) like us, you get to keep these foods. Thus, my Passover Cornflakes. But to make certain that everyone KNOWS these are special for-passover flakes? they add Paprika extract (doesn't change the flavor) to make them orange. Sure, it's a bit unappetizing, but the passover cereals based on potato starch are so much worse, I'll eat my orange cornflakes and be grateful!

Passover is a huge subject. It would take a dozen posts to talk about it all, but if people have questions, write them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.


Kristin said...

Ok, I don't know how I missed it, but I didn't know you had a blog. Now you have another faithful reader!

GaryP/Chehalis said...

Why does candy get tossed for Passover? I thought it was yeast that had to be thrown out.

the rabbi's wife said...

This is a common misunderstanding. The word in Hebrew is "chometz" not "Shamarim" which is literal yeast. Chametz is the result of natural fermentation of grains and water--sourdough. So, anything that contains grains (wheat, oats, rye, spelt, or barley) or their derivatives must be gone by Passover, as we are instructed to not let it be "found within our gates". Most candy contains citric acid, a derivative of wheat (not citrus fruit, strangely enough). But in today's world we also recognize that even things that may not overtly contain grains may be manufactured in a facility that does. So all processed foods for Passover have extra supervision. For Example, when I toured the Manishewitz winery in upstate New York, before going in the building we had to leave purses/bags, water bottles, food, and any gum we were chewing at the door. we couldn't get near the process, just view it from a distance. the point was to keep any possible contaminant of chometz away from the wine.
I hope this clears things up a bit for you. it's really a problem of having to read a translation of the Bible rather than the original.

Doreen said...

Amanda, you are constantly surprising me. You are one sharp lady. I have been living wheat/gluten free for the last 12 years after discovering an allergy...and I didn't know about this one. I see that it can also be made from other vegetable sources, but now it will give me pause when reading ingredients. Thanks! Hm, how about using the actual fruit?