A Lapsed Jew's Guide to Passover Week

Yes, it's still Passover. The Jewish holiday lasts eight days, which means this is day five, a hellish kind of Hump Day. If you're like me, the matzo bloating has set in, and things are looking desperate.

I was raised in a very Reform household -- as in, my family orders Vietnamese food instead of holding a second seder. No one taught me how to keep kosher during Passover because they were too busy eating Cheerios. So, like clever Jewish children the world over, I made up my own rules. No bread, no yeast, cereal, crackers, or pasta. Basically, nothing that rises. But I will eat rice, because I'm one-quarter Sephardic, and that's totally allowed. (To read the far more factual dietary rules of Passover, click here).

Every year, there comes a point in this interminable holiday when I'm starving. Ever tried a gluten-free diet? This is worse, because it involves Jewish guilt. Here's how the schedule has gone so far:

Friday night: Bake a traditional Passover spinach pie, then eat pork and beans (but no bread!) with goyim friends. If they notice any hypocrisy, friends are too polite to mention it. 

Saturday: Matzo for breakfast, omelet for lunch, traditional seder at night. Feel disciplined, healthy, energized! The wine flows, the brisket is tender, and all is right in the universe.

Sunday: More matzo, this time with a little peanut butter. Leftover pork and beans for dinner. As a preventive measure, buy prunes.

Monday: Oatmeal loaded with raisins for breakfast, because something has to combat the matzo. Send text message to far more observant Jewish best friend: "Is oatmeal kosher for Passover?'

 "No. :(" friend replies.


Eat kale salad with tofu for lunch. Things are looking up!

Monday night: Italian dinner with friends. The only thing on the menu without bread crumbs is fava beans. Drink too much wine and devour an entire mozzarella ball.

Tuesday: Contemplate eating hand. Purchase entire barbecue chicken from Publix. Still hungry.

Wednesday: Plead for help.