Saturday, April 19, 2014

Passover Greetings (ii)

I rarely have my act together for Pesach. 

In principle, in the week before Passover, one cleans the entire house stem to stern (I suppose, being a house, stoop to sewer might be more apt), removing any trace of leavened bread.  There is plenty of time to prepare one's self and one's kitchen; there is even a ritual to perform, followed by an official declaration that the house is clean.  The day of the seder, one cooks a sumptuous (if utterly unleavened) feast and the seder is enjoyed as a long symposium of reading and wine and discussion and wine and good food and wine and singing and wine that ends somewhere around midnight. 

The way it usually plays out, for me, is somewhat less ideal.  I typically don't get around to the cleaning until the day of the seder, and there is no ritual declaration of cleanliness.  There are declarations of other sorts, as when I discover the toaster full of bread crumbs, sitting unnoticed on the counter, well after I've prepared the night's meal.  The meal, while definitely kosher for Passover and fulfilling all ritual requirements, could only be described as a feast by the most generous diner.  This year, as with many, the discussion is curtailed by simple fatigue and a desire to get to bed. 

Grocery stores, if they sell stuff that's kosher for Passover, generally sell it a couple of weeks in advance, when I am not ready.  So, the day before Passover starts, I find myself going from store to store in a desperate search for matzoh.  This year, fortunately, I had a few boxes I picked up in LA, but I needed more. 

Roseburg doesn't have a huge Jewish population.  The first store I checked had a typical end-of-the-grocery-aisle display, with jars of gefilte fish and grape juice and Manicewicz concord grape wine and farfel and matzoh meal cake mix and all sorts of other things, but not Matzoh.  The second store had no such display, although it did have a kosher section in the "ethnic foods" aisle, with a couple of boxes of egg-n-onion matzoh (definitely not kosher for passover), but nothing else.  The third store, I couldn't find anything.  I asked one of the stockers, who had no clue, but who led me to another, who also had no clue, but who did illustrate something about the demographics of Roseburg:

"I'm looking for Matzoh, for Passover."

"Uh, masa?  Like, uh, the corn stuff?  That's over in nine, at the end."

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