Grandma Roza is a typical Jewish grandma with a new hearing aid and a very distinct opinion. She lives in a Jewish aged care facility and always has something valuable to add to any conversation. Today she discusses extensive Pesach cleaning with her personal carer Simon.
Grandma Roza: So, Shimonke*, tell me honestly, what’s the occasion? Why are you scrubbing the walls of our lovely residence as if we are expecting a visit from the Chinese Emperor?
Simon: Pesach is coming up soon, Grandma Roza. We have to clean the place thoroughly, making sure no breadcrumbs are left in any hidden spots!
Grandma Roza (with a sarcastic smile): Do you really think that our walls are covered with breadcrumbs just like my Mottle’s head is covered with dandruff?
Simon: Of course not! But these are the rules. I am sure you also did Pesach cleaning at home.
Grandma Roza: Absolutely I did! But without losing my mind. Please, don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against cleaning the kitchen and living room… But I don’t think that one should cover up the door handles of the attic with builder’s foil. This is a bit too much of Mishegasen!
Simon: So what’s your definition of Pesach cleaning that makes sense?
Grandma Roza: It’s easy to remember – there is a difference between chometz and dust. Therefore, one shouldn’t run around the house with a shmatah and drive their relatives nuts! Better you drive them to Myer for new Pesach clothes! Asking for help is a good idea too.
Simon: You mean hiring a cleaner?
Grandma Roza: No. I mean calling Hatzolah if you start going crazy.
Simon: Alright, let’s talk about something more cheerful. Share your famous matzah brei recipe with me.
Grandma Roza: Finally! This topic is more important than running around with a broom. You know, I never liked to clean, even when I was young and pretty. And as time went by, I became allergic.
Simon: Allergic to dust?
Баба Роза: Nooo! Allergic to cleaning… Anyway, enough on that. You asked a good question. Seriously, can you imagine anything as tasty and easy to make as matzah brei?
Simon: Well, I prefer sushi.
Grandma Roza: I’ve heard of it. And all I can say is that it’s not acceptable for a fine Jewish boy like you to eat raw fish, particularly, if it’s not herring or lox. Now, back to matzah brei… But how on earth are you going to write down the recipe without pen and paper?
Simon: I have good memory.
Grandma Roza: Shimonke, there are two things you can’t trust: men and memory. I used to memorise so many things… and now, some mornings I don’t even remember my husband’s name. So I just call him ‘shlemazl.’
Simon: Fine, I’ll grab a pen.
Grandma Roza: Good boy. Firstly, you need to get the best matzah available! Not the one that’s been sitting on top of your shelves for the past five years, but the one that’s fresh and hard to get. Soak it in milk or chicken broth, but never mix these together, otherwise, it’s treyf!
Simon: But where can I find matzah that’s hard to get? Luckily, we live in a free country where you can always buy anything you want!
Grandma Roza: Well, listen to this, Shimonke, there is nothing more unstable than stability. I know, I’ve been around for a while. Anyyyway, grind onions on a hand grinder to feel the bitterness and pain of slavery of our ancestors in Egypt.
Simon: And then what?
Grandma Roza: Just wait a minute, don’t you see – I am making up this recipe as I talk! Fry the onions, add matzah and a few eggs. In goes the salt and pepper, but don’t put too much! That’s it. Put aside your phone and make sure you don’t burn the dish. Ah! What a smell! What a taste! Now every beauty will beg you to marry her just for one bite of this fantastic matzah brei… No diamond rings necessary!
* Mishegasen (Yiddish) – Craziness
* Shimonke (Yiddish) – Yiddish version of the name Shimon/Simon