On the Jewish food scene: Thinking the unthinkable

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

At least they tasted good, although most of the hamantashen did not retain their shape and flattened into a regular cookie. The cook (not me) said that next year, she would use a different recipe for the dough. People seemed to like them when I passed them out to the staff and individuals whom I see as part of my chaplaincy work. However, one person passed on eating them, noting that he doesn’t eat sweets.

Normally, I wouldn’t think anything about this except that this staff person (who is the head of his room) was the one who arranged for the two rooms to gather and celebrate the holiday. This tradition (if you want to call it that and I do) began in December when I was with his room while they were doing home living (AKA making lunch or a snack). He said to me that we could do something for Passover. I suggested that we do something for Hanukkah first. The latkes were made by the same cook as the hamantashen and they were excellent. Unfortunately, the head of the room had to teach a class elsewhere that day and missed them. 

Even before we made the Purim treat, I’d been thinking about what we could make for Passover and immediately thought of matzah brei (fried matzah) because it’s easy to make and tastes good. However, regular readers of this column may remember my food column from last year (available here), where I firmly suggested – OK, I ranted – that matzah brei is sweet only. But, yes, sigh, believe it or not, I’ve started looking at savory recipes. 

I don’t know if the head of the room likes vegetables, but I did see a recipe with just cheese, which I know he eats. Actually, I’m debating whether we should make two different kinds, so that people can taste a little of both. Sigh, life was so much easier when I’m only concerned with what I want to eat. Of course, we might choose to do something else completely or nothing at all, in which case, I’ll go back to claiming real matzah brei only comes in the sweet variety.