Buttered matzah: the affliction of affliction

As you may know, because I allude to it bizarrely frequently, I am Jewish. EW, wow, I just ate something nasty. More on that later. Shit. OK, so this week is Passover, and I’ve been following it religiously (HA) (oh dear) and not eating either chametz or kitniyot. So basically nothing I normally eat on a regular basis.

I have been eating a giant amount of matzah (the other day my boss came over, looked at me, and said, “You’ve really been putting away a lot of matzah this week”; note to everyone—never, ever say this to anyone) and have encountered a number of challenges. You may think this is a joke. It is NOT. Buttering matzah is one of the most difficult things Jews face, cooking-wise. Brisket? Pah.

The first step is to not use butter that has been in the freezer for a long time, improperly wrapped. (See paragraph one of this post. Throw out any such butter you possess.)

The second step is to take your butter out of the fridge to soften it. You cannot use hard butter; the pressure needed to butter will cause the matzah to break everywhere, and matzah will fly all over your apartment. The ideal way to butter matzah would probably be telekinetically, or maybe with one of those olive-oil vaporizers. Or nonstick spray. It would not affect the taste.

Then, take a piece of matzah out of the box. I have been using Yehuda Matzos because that is what my parents gave me.

This is where the first decision comes in: Are you going to break your matzah before or after buttering? I had been taking mine to work in Tupperwares all week, so I had to break it so it could fit in the Tupperwares, so I broke it before buttering, to avoid covering my fingers with butter. (This was a mistake, though, as I learned later in the week.)

The second decision is: Are you going to butter the charred side with the little bubbles, or the other side? The correct answer is the charred side. Then you must decide: With the grain or against the grain? If you butter with the grain, your butter will end up on top of the little hills, with no butter in the little valleys, unless you are a particularly skilled butterer. Therefore, against the grain is the correct choice. This is not without difficulty, though, and takes practice. When buttering against the grain, you must break all the little matzah bubbles and mix the crumbs in with the butter during the buttering process; this is the only way to accomplish a full coating of butter throughout the entire matzah, and otherwise it is inedible.

As you will see, I spent most of this week eating minuscule chunks of matzah because of my subpar buttering abilities.

But today, I made a wonderful discovery. If you put the matzah on an extremely flat surface and butter with great gentleness, IT WILL NOT BREAK. Right now, I am eating a FULL SHEET OF MATZAH. Well, I’ve been breaking off strips, with the grain. OK, the end of this post. I cannot wait for Monday.

Oh, one other thing about matzah. The other day I was doing the dishes, which had been accumulating for several days. At the bottom was a small square of matzah. It had been there for at least eight hours, probably more, but was still completely intact. Soggy, but intact. When I picked it up to throw it out, it just sort of sagged. It didn’t even fall apart. That was gross and disturbing.

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3 thoughts on “Buttered matzah: the affliction of affliction

  1. Even though this may be the least useful post for my own diet, I am in love. Also, when I tried making matzo kugel, I poured boiling water over the matzo to soften it and then stupidly let it sit on the counter for a few minutes in a bowl. When I went to work with it, it was in ONE GIANT GLUTENOUS CLUMP. I would imagine your sink discovery was of a similar consistency. I couldn’t even pull apart the pieces because of all that gluten. This was a wonderful tutorial and I’ll be sure to direct anyone I know who is thinking of eating buttered matzo to this site.

  2. This is enormously helpful, and I’m impressed at the level of detail and amount of time you have spent thinking about this important issue. But I have one suggestion- instead of tupperware, why not put your whole, flat, piece of matzah on a piece of aluminum foil, then fold the foil around the matzah? (or you can break it in half and fold the buttered pieces on top of each other so the butter is inside and won’t contaminate other things, like the foil or your fingers.) You can re-use the same piece of foil for several days if all that’s in there is matzah, so it’s not wasteful.

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