A Catholic Confesses: Father, Forgive Me, I’m Addicited to Matzo

Matzo -- the perfect vehicle for anything you want to eat.

“Planning a big Seder dinner?” Ivane, my favorite check-out lady at Whole Foods asked as I unloaded the 10 boxes of matzo from my shopping cart.

The pound of pork tenderloin, the 5-lb ham, and the 2 packages of bacon which I also unloaded were a clear tell that no, I was not celebrating Passover. I was merely stocking up on my favorite seasonal cracker before the lack of demand would take away my supply.

“You only like matzo because you don’t have to eat it every day,” my Jewish friends always tell me.

Maybe. Arguably, us Catholics get off easy. “No bread” is one of the many paths to self-denial we can chose from during the Lent season. And since I’m an “Only When She Flies” Catholic, giving up bread for 40 days is less about religious doctrine and more about getting ready for beach season.

For me, giving up bread for Lent is less about religion and more about beach season.

Then again, if Catholics had to replace every slice of bread with communion wafers during the 40 days of Lent, and I saw a friend willingly consume the tasteless disk of starch, I’d probably think she was crazy too. But a communion wafer doesn’t come close to matzo on the utility scale.

Matzo’s chalky tastelessness and sturdy physical presence make it a great vehicle for anything you could possibly want to stack on top of something before you eat it. Peanut butter and honey. Chocolate and caramel. Smoked salmon and chives. Aged Gouda and ham. A slab of butter.

Or you can crumble it into stuff, like soup.

Matzo’s lack of flavor means it doesn’t interfere with what you really want to eat. Its crunch is an appealing bonus characteristic.

As I unpacked my groceries and tried to make space in my pantry, it occurred to me that 10 boxes might have been excessive. Apparently, besides making a lot of crumbs, the big drawback to matzo is that it’s packaging doesn’t fit in a breadbox.

Maybe if the boxes of matzo fit in my breadbox, it'd be less obtrusive in my kitchen.

Kiss Me Baby On an Easter Sunday

You can call me Godless, but I'm going to have my Easter Bunny and all his friends. And that's that.

Lev accused me of being a Godless-Christian-Pagan who celebrated empty holidays and believed in nothing but Bloomingdales. If I didn’t know this was an attempt at flirtatious fighting, I would have thought attacking me, the Church of Couture, and the Easter Bunny was a terrible way to woo me.

“Do you even go to church on Easter?”

“No.”

He then launched into a history lesson about Catholicism  — how it usurped Pagan holidays and how modern society has commoditized formerly sacred festivities. I took a sip of wine and prepared myself for battle.

I confessed: I am a terrible Catholic — I dropped out of CCD, I can’t remember the last time I attended mass, and I don’t know the “Hail Mary.”

But I am an devout Easterer. I look forward to the pageantry of the holiday and the togetherness it inspires.

On Easter morning, I would awake to a cartoonishly large chocolate bunny I was never allowed to eat — it was too expensive to devour right away and too bad for my teeth to be eaten period. I still wonder why my mother didn’t just buy a plastic chocolate bunny she could use as a flower planter between Easters.

Hot Cross Buns. Ceramic egg trees. Symbols of spring. There's nothing I don't love about Eater.

Growing up, I enjoyed putting on my floral-print dress and running around the yard with friends on a hunt for eggs I had laboriously bejeweled and speckled the night before with the help of my parents.

Once I got older and the neighborhood kids moved away, I held a 50+ Easter egg hunt. I assembled the adults who had once been the designated “hiders” and turned them into “seekers.” It was a no-holds-barred kind of hunt where there was only one rule for me to follow — no eggs hidden below waist level. Bending/squatting to retrieve something they’d prefer to dress with mayo and serve in a sandwich seemed too hazardous an activity. I obliged.

At the end of the day, I think my family members were grateful for the chance to rekindle their inner-children — that is what Easter is largely about, isn’t it? Renewed life.

“Call me Godless, but I’m going to have my Easter Bunny,” I told him. “And my bonnet. And my tie-dyed eggs. And my Christmas tree. And that’s that.”

Lev popped in with a cheeky remark about behaving like a rabbit and how Easter was interfering. I rolled my eyes and handed him a Cadbury cream egg in my purse.

“Even a Scrooge deserves a little holiday love,” I said as I bid him good-night. It was Good Friday, and I had hot-cross buns to put in the oven 😉