I love bread. I’ve never been in love with a human man, but I can say with certainty that I trust and love a good piece of bread. Any kind of bread! Wheat, rye, ciabatta, baguette, pita, pumpernickel, challah, you name it, I like it. (Well, except white bread. Fuck white bread.) Every different kind of bread suits my ever-changing needs and moods.
It’s kind of like being in a really healthy polyamorous relationship where all your partners are extremely yummy. And so, as you can probably tell, this week, the week of Passover, has been very rough on me. I’ve had to say goodbye to that which is very important to me; that which warms my heart with every doughy, carbohydrate filled bite.
At least this year, since I don’t really have food in my room, I didn’t have to participate in the ritualistic burning of chametz. That is always painful to watch. I have memories from childhood of watching bread burn on the family grill. I remember one year I tried to stop it. As the bread toasted into a light golden brown I lurched forward screaming, “It’s done! It’s done! Any longer and it’ll be too burned to eat!”
My sister had to hold me back as the bread turned into ash. It was traumatizing to say the least. But I didn’t have to do it this year. Still, the pain of separation burns in my heart. As I walk by the panini station in the deece, I have to ignore the beautiful, fresh piles of bread. Instead as I pass by I whisper, “Soon, my love.”
Sometimes I question why I put myself through this every year. I am a Jew, yet I think of myself being more cultural than actually practicing. And yet, I still decide to put myself through the ringer for the full week. I don’t eat chametz, I eat from the weird, special area of the deece, I keep every surface completely kosher. Sometimes I question it, thinking, “What am I doing this for?”
But then, if nothing else, I remind myself that any healthy relationship requires time apart. During this week, I shall define myself without bread. While I may be suffering now without my dear bread, I will become a stronger person because of the separation. Our relationship will be stronger because of it. (Also because I like being Jewish and engaging in Jewish cultural traditions… but also because of the latter.)
I’ve been trying out a bunch of different bread replacements, but it’s never quite the same. One morning I thought about trying kosher pancakes. But all I could think of was to use a stack of matzah and pour some syrup on top of it. The syrup soaked through the stack fairly quickly but the thin, brittleness of the cracker didn’t match with the richness of the syrup.
I thought about making pasta with matzah balls instead of meatballs. But then I remembered that pasta isn’t kosher either. So I gave up on that plan. My final recipe idea was to try to make a kosher salad. But then I remembered that I could just eat a normal salad. And then I decided I wasn’t really in the mood to eat vegetables so I didn’t. Through this experience I’ve realized that kosher replacement recipes for Passover can never replace bread in my stomach or my heart.
Life is a bit hard for me right now. I have dreams about floating on clouds made of croissants and biting into their fluffy goodness. My mouth waters with a fervor that can only be quenched by biting into something that has been leavened. There is a hole in my life, but no, it is not a doughnut hole. It is emptiness.
For a hot sec I got so sad that I decided to day drink some Manischewitz, but then I thought about the amount of sugar I was consuming and went to the gym immediately. Since we gained an hour, the days are longer and longer; long days with no bread. The next few days will be difficult but I think I can manage.
I haven’t decided what my break-fast meal will be. There are so many options I can choose from and I’d like to think I’d prepare a well-thought out meal for myself. I’d like to think I’d go to a nice bakery and buy loaves upon loaves of fresh breads, buns and pies. But in reality, I know that I’ll end up shoving as many pieces of buttered toast in my mouth as possible and hoard them in my cheeks like a squirrel. Since I cannot eat from non-kosher surfaces, I cannot eat deece french fries so I’ll probably end up swimming in the french fry container in the grill section like a swimming pool. Life will be better then. Life will be easier. I feel like I am being tested as if I am Hercules attempting to complete the twelve tasks. I shall be victorious!
At the very least, I know that my Jewish friends are in the same boat with me; I am not alone in my separation from sweet, sweet bread. There is a collective people enduring the same cravings that I am; a small group going against all the odds. I can do this. At least I think I can. Check in with me next week to see if I’ve survived. And if you do see me, please do not judge me for this egregious article. I am in a very desperate time without my dear, sweet bread. Normally I wouldn’t make myself so vulnerable in publication. Desperate times call for desperate measures, my sweet dude.