Passover, Passover, make me a snack

In honor of the holiday that began at sundown today, I’m going to share some of my amusing Passover stories. (Also, I’ve recently been chastised for not posting often enough. Mea culpa. I’ll try to be better about it.) In my senior year of college, I wanted to make a cake for my friend whose birthday was right in the middle of Passover. She also was observing, so I went to Randall’s and got a kosher-for-Passover cake mix. I also got milk, eggs, oil, etc. to make it. I took it up to the college kitchen, and when I opened the box, I discovered that someone else had already made it! Yes. The cake mix was made, in the little pan that came in the box, and someone had eaten about half of it. They had then stuffed the rest of it back in the box, resealed it, and put it back on the grocery store shelf. Don’t ask me how.

Fortunately, I returned to Randall’s to return the cake, and the manager was very nice about the whole thing. Everyone involved was grossed out by this incident, so he more than made amends. The only other mixes they had there that were kosher-for-Passover involved a bundt pan. I had avoided those, because I didn’t have a bundt pan and didn’t want to buy one. The manager gave me a new mix and a bundt pan for free.

This was the same year that Zvi decided he wanted to make kosher-for-Passover ice cream from a recipe involving nothing more than sugar, strawberries and eggs. The year that I was President of Rice Hillel, I had to put together a study break right before Passover. Because it was Hillel, everything had to be kosher, even though no one who attended our events kept kosher. This meant I always had to go to the one kosher grocer in Houston, who was a really grumpy man.

To appreciate this story, you need to know that the Hebrew word for all the food that is forbidden during Passover, collectively, is chametz. I went into the grocer to buy pita and hummus. Hummus, under the strictest interpretations, is forbidden during Passover, so I wasn’t that surprised that I was having trouble finding it. I approached the store owner and said, “Do you have any hummus?”

“Chametz?” he asked.
“Hummus,” I said.
“Chametz?”
“HUMMUS! You know the stuff that’s made with garbanzo beans? You dip pita?” (Privately, I’m thinking, “What, you think I’m coming in here just to find anything that’s forbidden during Passover? ‘Please, I’m desperate. I need some chametz! Anything — I don’t care what it is!’”)

He was so aggravated and so clearly not understanding me that he had to go get another worker to try to communicate with me. I explained again that I was looking for hummus, and the new guy said they didn’t have any. And there you go. Happy Passover! ✡

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