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The Sporkful

The Science and Religion of Matzoh

Originally aired: Monday, April 7, 2014

Matzoh isn't just for Jews, and it isn't just for Passover. It's a delicious, plain cracker that's ideal for all people all year round! In a quest to better understand and appreciate matzoh, Dan travels to the Manischewitz factory in Newark, NJ, to interview a Southern Baptist matzoh expert named Randall Copeland and Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, who is an expert on kosher law. Dan talks to Randall about the science of matzoh, including:   Manufacturing matzoh crunch (including how different cooking processes change crunch levels) The role that the little holes in matzoh play in determining a cracker's texture The reason why Tam Tams and matzoh crackers are hexagonal   Then Dan asks the rabbi some tough theological questions, including: - Some matzoh isn't kosher for Passover. If it isn't, should it really be considered matzoh? Isn't matzoh inherent in Passover? (The rabbi's response begins, Let me strengthen your case before I tell you why you're wrong.) Is an open-faced matzoh sandwich actually a sandwich? Charoset is part of the Passover seder made of apples and nuts and meant to symbolize the mortar used to build the pyramids in Egypt. If the apples and nuts in a charoset are chopped so big that the charoset does not stay on your matzoh and act as an actual mortar, should the charoset be considered symbolic mortar? Or is it invalid as charoset if it doesn't work as mortar? Also, the rabbi reveals his technique for using romaine lettuce to keep his maror on his matzah, and Randall reveals the recipe for matzoh brei that the women who work in the Manischewitz test kitchen use. It's pretty intriguing and results in a matzoh brei that can be sliced into wedges like a frittata.

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