Why do I (almost) turn into someone else on Passover?

I admit that I am fairly uptight about what foods I will serve my kids. We buy mostly organic produce, local dairy and eggs, and absolutely no foods with trans-fats or high fructose corn syrup. The effect on my daughters’ taste buds has been uneven. My five year old loves vegetables and brown rice and actually squeals with delight when offered seaweed for a snack. My three year old likes treats, treats, and more treats, with a few more treats thrown in for good measure. She subsists on a lot of fruit and string cheese, with cereal, scrambled eggs (with spinach – ha!), and the occasional smoothie. And, of course, a steady supply of Trader Joe’s bars.
gefilteBut for some reason, come Passover I am tempted to buy the strangest, and most uncharacteristically crappy, foods. I did my annual Passover shop last week, driving over an hour to the nearest large Jewish community. I had perused the sale flyers and had a mental list of everything I needed – turkey, chicken, your basic array of matzoh products, jelly, cooking wine, and some macaroons. Understand that the supermarket closest to my house has a Passover table. They cobble together a few boxes of matzoh, some jars of Mrs. Adlers gefilte fish, those strange but ubiquitous jellied fruit slices, and whatever else looks Jewish (usually some leftover chanukah gelt and quite possibly some chametzdik egg noodles.) But the Waldbaums? – they had AISLES of Passover food. AISLES. And as I wandered down those aisles, my friends, I mysteriously turned into someone else’s mom.
Marshmallows and chocolate bars? We need those. (I actually imagined my family sitting around a campfire, making matzoh smores.)  Kosher for Passover Italian Ice? Only $9 a box? Definitely a must have. A tiny jar of curry sauce for $7? How could I possibly live a week without curry sauce, even though I haven’t bought curry sauce since I left Brooklyn 15 years ago? When I picked up the brick of hydrogenated cotonseed oil labeled as Passover margarine and considered it for even a split second, I should have realized it was time for an intervention.
While I stood in line at checkout, I regained at least some of my senses. Just because I can eat it on Passover, doesn’t mean I have to eat it on Passover. I did hold on to two bags of Joya sesame candies and a tub of Sabra vegetarian chopped liver, but I put back the rest of the non-essentials. (Chocolate chips are essential since I wait all year to stuff my face with matzoh toffee crunch.) I’m now planning menus that involve all of the foods we normally eat – fresh produce, fish, poultry, dairy, a few more potatoes than usual, and a limited number of whole grains. (Well, one, anyway – quinoa.) 
What’s the strangest (or most exciting) Kosher for Passover purchase you’ve made?

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Liz Greenberg

posted March 30, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I live for the ring gels but could be persuaded to add a new unhealthy favorite to my repertoire: could you please share the recipe for matzoh toffee crunch?

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posted March 31, 2009 at 6:49 am

Robin Weiss

posted March 31, 2009 at 10:59 am

Marshmallows are favorites here. Though, since we don’t eat meat, we usually buy all the crappy Passover mixes. This year we are going to try to eat only fruits and vegetables with very little of the other stuff thrown in.

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Bible Belt Balabusta

posted March 31, 2009 at 11:57 am

The most exciting for the kids is definitely chocolate-covered matzah. Not the cruddy seder matzah covered only on the top, but the luxurious egg matzah coated top and bottom with bittersweet chocolate. My oldest always brings a box to school and is instantly adored. This is important given the spotlight on dietary restrictions all week (“why can’t y’all eat bread?”). A little chocolate matzah goes a long way towards corrective PR in a crowded cafeteria. Add a bag of kosher le Pesach Bazooka (“wow, is that Hebrew?”) and she is set.

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Adrian Durlester

posted April 1, 2009 at 9:03 am

Seems to me that our ancestors didn’t exactly have the best, healthiest, and finest food available to them on their way out of Egypt, so maybe we should be buying and eating “crappy” foods so that we can truly experience what it would be like “ki ilu hu yatza miMitzrayim.” Bring on the Marshmallow Twists! (I can be Sephardic for Pesach!)

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posted April 1, 2009 at 11:22 pm

i have stopped buying all the mixes and “crappy” foods – every year i buy one or two things, tho, and this year i made a definite decision not to.
then again, my kids LOVED the cocoa-o’s cereal last year and since they never get any sugar cereals at all, this is a big pesach treat. so i bought 2 boxes this year….hope they still like it!

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posted April 2, 2009 at 1:14 am

We bought the Savion O’s too. They actually aren’t that terrible – the kids ate them as a snack. They have only 7 grams of sugar, I think, not much more than our favorite Kashi and Barbara’s cereals. The Manischewitz cereal had something like 23 grams per serving.

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posted April 6, 2009 at 12:38 am

I still have my unopened stash of ringjells from last year, you will get them if you can manage to stay up that late. I’m laughing very hard at this entry of yours… curry sauce… lol

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