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Mar 2, 2007 04:07 AM

Peculiar Passover Practices

This is a thread that got started by accident in a Cooking with Salami thread on the Home Cooking board. It seems that for some of us, salami & eggs was a special passover dish, while others had it year-round but had other passover-only foods (other than those obviously demanded by the holiday itself). Like, in my house, passover was the only time of year my mother would buy butter instead of margarine - but it had to be Breakstone's whipped butter!

What are your memories?

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  1. matza brei, no reason not to eat it other times of the year!

    4 Replies
    1. re: smartie

      Thats crazy talk. I'd eat matzoh brei all year round if I ever found myself with a box of matzoh in my apartment. When I see it on the menu of diners around me, I always give it some thought.

      Matzoh pizza and matzoh grilled cheese on the other hand are delicious but get old after 8 days.

      1. re: ESNY

        I eat it all the time. And I always start craving it a few weeks before Passover starts.

      2. re: smartie

        I love matzoh brei and make it several times throughout the year. (Only for me though - DH and son don't like it - what do they know.)

        1. re: smartie

          I LOVE matza brei...with a little grape jelly....YUM! I'm so excited!

        2. lots of white fish. also, my mom makes loads of veggie pate on Passover (by the pounds, seirously) -- I think it's the only thing that makes able to bear the horrible dry tastlessness of matza.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tastytamarind

            Spread schmaltz (with embedded fried onions) on your matzoh and sprinkle with a little salt. It's a foretaste of paradise!

            1. re: Striver

              That was my reply on the original post. It's so gawdawful unhealthy, but soooooo good!

          2. Hey, must have been reading my mind. When I posted last on the Cooking with Salami thread, it was about eating matzoh with cream cheese and jam - "slightly" off topic. Being the procrastinator that I am, I was hoping someone else would start up a thread about Passover eating idiosyncrasies.

            Just as salami and eggs was, and is, a Pesach dish for me, I've never been able to figure out why I don't usually make matzo balls the rest of the year. Everyone loves them, and I've gotten my bubby's "tam" and texture pretty well duplicated. We prefer "cannonballs" to fluffy balls, and I follow my grandmother's lead by putting fried onions in the mixture. I guess she started this as a substitute for schmaltz; we actually called fried onions "gribenes" in our family. And, to avoid any possibility of the matzoh balls coming out fluffy, they are baked, dry, in the oven (becoming browned and "crusty" on top) before being served in the soup. Bubby also put a tiny bit of cinnamon in her mixture, which I like, but which my husband and kids consider going a bit too far.

            15 Replies
            1. re: FlavoursGal

              My family's secret for matzah balls are the mixes - any of them we prefer them fluffy - so just follow the recipe and they come out fluffy every time - we have them year round

              gribenes - is not exactly fried oniions - it is the crispy pieces of chicken skin with some onions leftover after rendering out the chicken fat - definitely good eats but bad for the heart -

              1. re: weinstein5

                I know what gribenes are, but my bubby used fried onions as a substitute after my zaidie developed heart trouble.

                By the way, did you know that you should never buy gribenes from a Mohel?

                1. re: FlavoursGal


                  That's terrible.

                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                    Sorry wasn't is this was case like occurred to me trying to hid what it really was - my mother use to feed me and my brothers 'sweet meat' which turned out to be pickled tongue - once we learned what it was that was it for us eating it -

                    1. re: weinstein5

                      I love tongue - fresh and pickled. My kids won't touch it.

                      1. re: FlavoursGal

                        My mom used to make it when we were kids - although I don't remember it being a passover staple - more like something that we would eat on sukkot. She would cook it sweet and sour style with plump raisins and pineapple. As with FG above, when we come to visit an my mom is serving it, my kids don't touch it.

                        1. re: FlavoursGal

                          My son actually LOVES tongue. In fact, when we go to a deli for dinner, he has a tongue sandwich.

                        2. re: weinstein5

                          OMG I forgot all about that. My mom had an oval dutch oven (club aluminum) and every so often she would make us a boiled tonge for dinner. There wer major fights in the family about who got the tip slices and who got the slices further down. It must have been a cheap meal cause we were pretty poor.

                          1. re: jfood

                            My mother used to make tongue in the pressure cooker. Her pressure cooker was very sensitive, so we had to be very quiet when it was on the stove, tiptoeing around, whispering.

                            One day, I don't know what happened, but the pressure cooker literally blew its cork (or gasket, whatever), and the tongue that was cooking inside at the time went spewing out through the tiny hole at the top.

                            You can't imagine the scene. Pressurized, pulverized tongue on EVERY surface in the kitchen.

                            1. re: FlavoursGal

                              "Pressurized, pulverized tongue on EVERY surface in the kitchen."
                              Great story! Thank you for sharing that memory.
                              My mom used her pressure cooker for many things, probably tongue on rare occasions, and definitely sweet corn in the summer. I was always a bit fearful of the cooker, and tried to stay out of our small kitchen when it was on the stove.
                              Mom thought I was a wimp for being nervous. I wish I could tell her your story!
                              I have never used a pressure cooker, and don't eat tongue anymore. It was always purchased along with other deli meats for sandwiches, and I would take a slice or two to add to the corned beef, pastrami, and turkey. But I could never look at a whole tongue!!'
                              Chag sameach, p.j.

                              1. re: p.j.

                                To you too. Actually, Happy Purim.

                                We always made calves' tongue, so it wasn't quite as gross to look at as a beef tongue.

                            2. re: jfood

                              We had the same pot in 60's style avocado green! My mother made stuffed cabbage, chicken soup and other goodies in it!!

                          2. re: FlavoursGal

                            **LAUGH** That sounds like a great book title: "Never Buy Gribenes from a Mohel"

                            1. re: FlavoursGal

                              Where does the Mohel store his instruments? In a Brisket

                            2. re: weinstein5

                              I like the matzoh ball mixes, too. I add a little chopped dill to the mix. They NEVER fail!

                          3. I do not think of it as peculiar but I do not of anyone else who does this - as an appetizer for the Seder in place of giving everyone a hard boiled egg and salt water we have egg soup - a cold soup that consists of nothing more than chopped hard boiled eggs and salt water - it is excellent -

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: weinstein5

                              Yes, we had egg soup (a very common seder table dish, by the way) at my bubby's seder table. I hated it and went for the whole egg.

                              1. re: weinstein5

                                We have the same thing but also with onions in it. Cold salt water with chopped up hard boiled egg and onion. I love it!! Always ask for seconds.

                                1. re: weinstein5

                                  Us too, same thing. Not that anyone is actually crazy about it (especially as it's always followed by the traditional chicken soup - two soups?), but we can't stop it now, it's been going on for well over half a century.

                                  1. re: weinstein5

                                    There'd be a revolt in my family. We really like our hard boiled eggs!

                                    1. re: weinstein5

                                      Wait, are you related to me???
                                      My mother's maiden name is Weinstein and I never heard of anyone else doing this!

                                      1. re: bolletje

                                        Read the other responses to weinstein5, it's actually quite common.

                                      2. re: weinstein5

                                        I was always under the impression that this was a recipe that was exclusive to my Bubby (paternal), and I assume her sisters and such too. The kicker is, she adds a piping hot boiled potato to the salt water and chopped egg, which makes it warm and soupy. Me and my brother seem to be the only ones in our generation who get this dish, in fact, we've even talked our mom in to making this on the other seder where it doesn't go over too well with her side of the family.

                                        I am surprised that others are familiar with this dish, as I have been told this is a family recipe. I don't think I will ever be able to look at my bubby the same way. Thanks for ruining Passover, the herbs will truly be bitter this year.

                                        1. re: weinstein5

                                          As a kid, we'd start the meal with a hard-boiled egg. Our modern-day version of that is egg salad.

                                          1. re: weinstein5

                                            My family also does this-- it's a great favorite of mine. I'm wondering if it's some sort of regional variation. Those of you who do this: where are your families from? Mine came from Belarus and Lithuania...

                                            1. re: mscaroline

                                              Well for reverse logic, my family is originally from Belarus (not unusual as understand it) and Vilnius and we don't do this.

                                              1. re: pescatarian

                                                That's amusing. We could be related-- my family's also from Vilnius, although I guess that's not really surprising. Just out of curiosity, does your family make lox & eggs, and if so, do you put bell pepper in it? I'm told that the bell pepper is "a Litvak thing." :-)

                                          2. It was only during passover that we would have strawberry jam on our matzo-meal pancakes. My grandmother would get a huge jar of strawberry jam and it had to have big chunks of strawberries. I liked it, but I never understood why we couldn't have syrup. I guess none of the syrups were k for p.