Bob Schwartz

Tag: Food

Refugees and the Bread of Affliction

Passover begins this evening. As part of the festival, many Jews will be eating the flat dry bread of matzo at seder tonight; some will eat it for the next eight days. Matzo is known as the bread of affliction, commemorating the hardship of slavery and the hardship of the flight to freedom.

As we break bread—flat or otherwise—we might also remember the plight of millions of refugees around the world. To help ease their affliction, we might also consider contributing to UNHCR.

חַג שָׂמֵחַ

Chag sameach.
A joyous festival.

Clearing the Table

Table Top

Clearing the Table

Big plate small plate bowl
Fork knife spoon
Glass cup
Napkin folded.
Napkin crumpled
Dishes in disarray
Clear the table
To begin again.
If not for
Cooking serving cleaning
How would we eat?
If not for clearing
Every time
How would we see
The table top
So plain?

Coffee Paradise


Coffee Paradise

The coffee’s not making itself
Arriving on its own
No cook or chef
No waiter or waitress
No server or servess.

The discipline of
Water pot
Grounds and heat
Is good for you
Poor stir press pour
Mindful walk
To kitchen and back.

But where is the angel or
The winged cup
This is a morning
For that lazy heaven.

Bodhi Day Riddle: Fig Newtons

Fig Newtons

Here is a riddle for Buddhists, scientists, cookie lovers or anyone else who likes a challenge:

Why should Fig Newtons be the official cookie of Bodhi Day, the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment?

(For more serious posts about Bodhi Day, see here and here.)

Good Fortunes


Good Fortunes

A mountain of fortune cookies
For a feast.
Cracking one then another
All good.
One then another
All bad.
You have missed
The real meal.

Sweet Things Happened on Election Day Too


Eight dozen cupcakes were baked, filled and decorated here on Election Day, having nothing to do with Election Day. Lemon, red velvet, chocolate raspberry, etc. Sweet things from the heart happened and will continue to happen. (They are delicious!)

Music of Other Tables


Music of Other Tables

Half listen so
Duets from other tables
Are sounds minus meaning
Words to notes
Scales of breakfast
And lives.

Taco Trucks on Every Corner. Pizza Shops Too.

Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutierrez said yesterday “My culture is a very dominant culture. And it’s imposing, and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”

This was meant as a comment on immigration, not food. Without going into the complexities of immigration or the bizarre backwardness/cluelessness/meanness of the Trump campaign, it does make you think about the connection.

If we had done something about the Italians (and we tried) maybe we wouldn’t have pizza shops on every block. Same for the Chinese and Chinese restaurants. Same for Eastern European Jews and bagel shops. And so on.

We do have pizza shops and/or Chinese restaurants and/or bagel shops on many blocks, even in the smallest towns. Taco and burrito shops too. We are better for it. This probably doesn’t tell us how to deal with the very difficult issue of immigration. But it does tell us something about America and American values and American culture. Just as the remark by Gutierrez tells us something hard to digest about Trump and some of his followers.

Stale Donuts: What I Share with Ted Cruz


This is a true and inconsequential story.

I may not be as smart as Ted Cruz. But he and I share something important.

Ted has said he loves donuts. I love donuts.

Donuts get stale, somewhat quickly. Donut lovers devise ways to freshen stale donuts.

On the campaign trail, Ted has talked about refreshing stale donuts (really). He says he puts them in a microwave for 12 seconds.

I also have a technique for refreshing stale donuts. I put them in a microwave for 10 seconds. (Too much microwaving can destroy their delicate texture.)

So while he and I share this love, we disagree slightly on this. We have bigger disagreements on other matters, of course.

I did not clerk for a Supreme Court Justice. I am not running for President. Etc. So maybe Ted’s 12 seconds are better than my 10 seconds. If you’d like, you can try it for yourself.

Matzo: Dealing with Eating the Bread of Affliction

Organic Spelt Matzo

Matzo is referred to as “the bread of affliction,” symbolizing the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, who didn’t have time to allow the bread to rise as they fled through the wilderness. Talk about flatbread, this is the ultimate.

If you are observing the Passover and avoiding bread for the next week, or even if you’re not, some thoughts about eating matzo.

  1. Put away the toaster. Save the counter space. You won’t need it for bread. And you can’t toast matzo. Even if you could, it would slip through the slot.
  1. Make matzo brei for breakfast. Matzo brei is kind of a cross between pancakes and French toast, made by soaking matzo in water, mixing it with eggs, and cooking it in a frying pan. Delicious all year round. You don’t have to Jewish and it doesn’t have to be Passover.
  1. Try all the varieties of matzo, or at least the ones that don’t seem a little extreme (Organic Spelt, I’m looking at you). Once upon a time there was only plain matzo, just like there used to be plain white bread. Now everything is mixed in: Egg, Yolk-Free, Egg and Onion, Spelt, Mediterranean, Whole Wheat, Garlic and Rosemary, and Everything (which actually doesn’t have everything, just garlic, onion and poppy seeds. Go figure.)
  1. Don’t try to make sandwiches. At the seder, the tradition is to eat a tiny sandwich of horseradish and haroset (a sweet paste representing the mortar of the building the Jews slaved on) between two pieces of matzo. The great sage Hillel supposedly created this sandwich, and his name is attached to it. Even this tiny sandwich throws matzo crumbs all over the place. A full-size matzo sandwich is not a good idea. No matter how wise Hillel was.

Happy Passover.