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French Toast for Moses

matzoh-brei

During Passover, Jews eat only unleavened bread to symbolize the fact that they had to flee Egypt before their bread could rise. No leavened bread is eaten by Jews for seven days during Passover, and all traces of Chametz (חמץ, “leavening”) must be removed from the house. Chametz  is either a grain product that is already fermented (like yeast breads, “regular” risen cake, Twinkies, crullers, bagels, and most alcoholic beverages) or anything that can cause fermentation (like yeast or sourdough starter).  There are all sorts of recipes for unleavened breads and cakes that can be prepared and eaten during Passover, but the staple and symbol of the holiday is matzoh, the flat, cracker-like squares that blossom in the grocery store aisle alongside the gfelte fish and macaroons. Well, and the bubble gum; I did see a package of bubble gum in the store the other day that indicated that it was “kosher and suitable for consumption at Passover.”

I love matzoh, and was always secretly jealous of my friend Ruthie Rome, who brought sandwiches to school during Passover like peanut butter and jelly on matzoh, or tuna salad on matzoh. It made her special and interesting, and implied a certain religious depth that was lacking in my own laissez-faire spiritual life. (I was also jealous of kids who got to leave school on Ash Wednesday and come back after lunch with smudges on their foreheads).  I asked my mother if I could take sandwiches on matzoh in my lunch, since I was half Jewish and we did, actually, celebrate Passover in Ohio with her family. She shrugged and said that I could do that if I wanted to, but that it was really not particularly meaningful to eat matzohs only in public when I was showing off, if I then came home and ate bread and butter after school. Never give a sucker an even break.

We did have matzoh in our house before Passover, though, and we all ate them buttered, plain, or with a schmear of egg salad. At my grandmother’s house they were graced with her chopped liver, which was to die for. (Literally. Pounds of rendered chicken fat went into every Tupperware container of chopped liver). There was also the Matzoh Brei, which my grandmother made for her “boys’ who were a police officer and a surgeon, respectively. There was also plenty for her grandchildren, further proof that, despite our resolutely atheist father, we were among The Chosen People.

Matzoh Brei really is French Toast made with matzoh. There are people who make it fancy, or savoury, or flat like a frittata, and they are all doing it wrong. This is not really a matter to be discussed. You can be pretty loose about quanities, and you may substitute pan spray for butter if you really feel that you must, but I draw the line at onions, egg beaters, or the omission of maple syrup. If you’re going to do that kind of stuff, you’re on your own.

Matzoh Brei for One (Starving) or Two (Not So Much)

Ingredients

  1. 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  2. About 1 tablespoon milk
  3. 2 full sheets matzoh (preferrably egg matzoh), broken into pieces about the size of a matchbook, or smaller
  4. Butter
  5. Maple syrup

Directions

1. Place matzoh pieces in shallow bowl

2. mix milk into eggs and pour over matzoh pieces; stir to coat

3. in a sautee or frying pan, melt butter over medium heat

4. When butter is melted and covers bottom of pan, add matzoh and egg mixture and stir gently, as you would scrambled eggs

5. When all egg is cooked and nothing looks wet, slide mixture onto a plate (or two), top with syrup and enjoy.

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About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

5 responses »

  1. I always wondered what “Matzoh Brei” was!! Thanks! Now I know what it is and how to make it.
    Darn! I was at the market earlier! Now I want to go back for egg matzohs!! Anything with butter and maple syrup sounds good to me!!
    Oh, and I adore chopped liver. I can’t make it because I am the only one here who likes it and I end up eating it ALL by myself!!! (What is wrong with these people?)
    😆

    Reply
  2. Trisha, go back. It’s worth it. I can’t make chopped liver here either, for the same reason. I don’t really like liver, but I had chopped liver at my grandmother’s house from so far back I can’t remember, so it didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t supposed to like it. It’s too late for that kind of Liver Immersion for my husband and son.

    Reply
  3. Ann,

    Genetics is leaking.

    Shmear?

    “and they are all doing it wrong.”

    I guess its good, you cant fight genetics……..

    Reply
  4. i was raised by first pouring boiling water over the matzoh to soften, squeeze dry. then the eggs and fry in butter. and eat with grape jelly.

    Reply
  5. claudia, that sounds pretty damned good – now I’m not sure my grandmother didn’t do the boiling water thing. I do know that we had syrup not jelly, but I would certainly be open to variations…..

    Reply

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