Keepin’ kosher cool

For most people, the entrance of spring means blooming flowers, picnics in the park, or March Madness. But ever since my early days at Fellows Elementary School, I look forward to spring because of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Each year for seven days, I commemorate one of the most important festivals of the Jewish calendar with the customary Passover Seder with my family, and the infamous Passover lunchbox of a broken piece of matzah and a coconut macaroon. Over the years, I’ve realized that keeping kosher (following the dietary laws of Judaism), especially during the festival of Passover, is not only a practical undertaking; it is fun and rewarding! Even for the vast majority of you who do not subscribe to the Jewish faith, here is a quick and easy guide to keeping Passover cool. Let’s start with the basic ingredient: matzah. During Passover, the consumption of any foods containing wheat or yeast is forbidden. Therefore, Jews eat matzah, a flat, cracker-like alternative to bread that is meant to imitate the food made by Israelite slaves escaping Egypt. Matzah can be used to make the classic matzah sandwhiches, matzah lasagna, matzah pizza, and matzah toast. However, The WEB put its ingenuity to the test by creating an entire new menu of matzah options. Matzah smoothies, for example, are a great substitute for the delicious fruit smoothies available at North Grand Mall. Senior Emily Falk, a member of Ames’ Jewish community, said one of her Passover must-haves is matzah sausage. “I never pass over the chance to eat a meal of matzah sausage,” she said with a giggle. “The matzah is kosher, delicious, and in link form!” Several Ames grocery stores carry matzah, as well as other Passover favorites, including macaroons (small, wheat-less and yeast-less cookies) in an array of flavors—everything from chocolate to rainbow burst to coconut almond. Matzah meal makes a delicious porridge dish in the morning, but if you’re the cereal type, you can opt for Fruity O’s or Chocolate O’s, both boosted with vitamins and minerals. Junior Austin “Shaggy” Sandler can be classified as another Passover enthusiast. “I love matzah balls,” he said. “You’ve just got to love them big matzah balls.” Shaggy also referenced his love for matzah soufflé, a Passover dish for the less Jewishly strict followers. There is no question that all those who celebrate Passover find it to be an enriching aspect of their lives, not only religiously, but also socially, psychologically, and physically. Regardless of your faith, we here at The WEB encourage you to give Passover a try. Any questions on the specific dietary guidelines for the week-long holiday can be expressed in a letter to the editor, with responses coming right back to you in the next publication of The WEB.