If I had to identify one main food for Pesach, it would be matzo. We all remember how the Jewish people left Mitzraim (Egypt) and didn’t have time for their bread to rise. This resulted in the creation of “matzo”, unleavened bread.
When I was growing up, matzo was incorporated into almost every dish… matzo pizza, matzo bagels, matzo basically everything. I don’t think there was anything we ate that didn’t include some form of matzo.
Today’s generation deals with many dietary restrictions and eating matzo at every meal isn’t recommended for many people, including our 6-year-old daughter, who recently was advised to become gluten-free.
So now what? How will Pesach be Pesach without eating matzo in all its delicious forms? How will this affect the meaning of Pesach for my daughter? What changes will we have to make to accommodate her gluten-free diet?
Luckily, nowadays more and more people are eating gluten-free, whether it’s for health benefits, allergy restrictions, or just to be a part of the “gluten-free trend”. Today, thousands of products are available for the gluten-free eater. Companies are going the distance to purposely make their products “non-gebrochs” (which is not getting the matzo wet), advertising their products as “gluten-free.” This way they are reaching a double market – the “non-gebroch” eater and the gluten-free eater.
Commercially-produced products and even candy are readily available gluten-free. I live in Toronto, and the local bakery right by my house, Hermes Bakery, is “non-gebrochs” and gluten-free, and the baked goods happen to be delicious.
We live in a different world now, where people can find gluten-free products much more easily. It used to be that non-Jewish celiacs used Passover to stock their cupboards with gluten-free products. They would continuously call food manufacturers, asking them to sell their products throughout the year.
Yehuda brand now has a gluten-free Matzo-Style Square for Pesach. I can honestly say that their matzo is tasty and super crunchy – almost like potato chips. They also produce gluten-free crackers in an assortment of flavors that are now sold year round in selected stores.
For those who can eat oats, many manufactures produce oat matzos. Oat are tricky – cross contamination may occur, so for celiacs, oats are not an option.
For “non-gebrochs” eaters, gluten-free is a breeze. A diet of meat, poultry, fish, potatoes, plus lots of vegetables and fresh fruits, is all you really need. Many cookbooks today are being published with recipes that are gluten-free and are also kosher for Passover.
So, for those gluten-free eaters out there, don’t despair. Pesach should be a time when you can feel more at ease about your diet. You have more products to choose from than ever before. My suggestion is to stock up on gluten-free products and you can enjoy a tasty, meaningful Pesach just like everyone else.
Here’s a sneak-peek at two terrific recipes from my upcoming cookbook that I’m collaborating on with kosher cookbook author, Norene Gilletz.
Happy Pesach, happy gluten-free eating!