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Kitniot or not?

Passover is a week a way. And it is time to get those favorite family recipes down and start the cleaning, planning and preparing!  One of the things I always loved about Passover is the creativity it takes in the kitchen.  I do have to admit since I embraced a low carb life a couple of years ago I have less need re-adjusting the week of Passover since I don’t really eat that many things with chametz in it! I don’t even have any bread in my house to throw out.

So I don’t really struggle all that much with Passover’s biggest dilemma–kitniot or not.  Kitniot is a category that is forbidden to Ashkenazi Jews but often Sephardic Jews will eat during Passover.  It means small things.The biggest example is rice.  It is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. But was considered chametz in Poland!  Corn also is in this same category as are beans and other legumes including peanuts.  Some of these things were processed into flours that resembled chametz.  But no one is really sure how this category came into being.  It is not from the Torah!

So much in our processed food world is made with corn syrup.  This would be forbidden as kitniot. Hence the special formulas for Coke and Diet Coke during Passover most often distinguished in the stores by a different color cap.  Of course this soda pop costs twice as much as a regular litre of Coke.  Thus the cost of Passover skyrockets.

A few years ago the Conservative movement made a sweeping pronouncement allowing kitniot for those Jews living in Israel because it saw the obsession of its adherents to rooting out kitniot as interfering with the essence of the holiday to focus on moving from slavery to freedom.  But even though now permitted for many eating rice on Passover just seems treif!

What do you do?  Do you eat kitniot on Passover?   I have tried it both ways.  Some years declaring my intention to eat kitniot and other years scrupulously observing my Ashkenazic heritage.  I have to admit–focusing on the low -carb way I eat year round keeps me from enjoying the traditions I grew up with including –the killer matzah brei that I make which is from a recipe handed down in my family.

But the matzah brei debate  Pancake vs Scrambled is another Passover dilemma for another blog.

So to eat kiniot or not that is the question for the day.  What do you do?


4 thoughts on “Kitniot or not?”

  1. Denise,

    Chag Sameakh!
    I was married to a Sephardi, I feel entitled to continue having kitniot on Pesach, especially since I’m Jewish by choice. Both my daughters-in-law were delighted that having Sephardi husbands gave them the excuse/zechut to have kitniot as well.

    In The Beautiful Pacific Northwest

  2. HI Denise!

    Definitely kitniot! My wife’s family adopted kitniot 50 years ago when her 2 aunts married an Egyptian and a Syrian Jew. I adopted it when I married Shira, and my parents adopted many years later when theseder shifted to my house. My digestive system is very happy with this!

    I read somewhere the prohibition for kitniot came from the fear that the rice imported to poland had come into contact somewhere along the way with wheat.

    Matza Brei is definitely made with whipped egg whites, yellows added, then mata pieces coked into a fluffy 1 inch thick omlette pie!

    Hag Sameach


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