What makes this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we eat hametz and matzah, on this night we eat only matzah. That’s one of the four questions asked by a child or the youngest participant at most Passover seders. Matzah, we learn in the seder, is the bread of affliction, bread of the poor.
Indeed, matzah, which those who observe Passover will tell you, is a food you quickly tire of eating, so you do feel deprived—day after day after day. But Jewish tradition holds that we eat matzah to remember the exodus from Egypt when Jews carried only dough with them that didn’t have time to rise.
The New American Haggadah calls attention to matzah in a variety of ways—“Matzah is bread, but just barely. Anything less would be mere four and water; anything more would become leavened bread that we eat during the rest of the year.” Playfully, it goes on to declare, “It is altogether proper that matzah is called the bread of affliction, because it has been afflicted more than any other foodstuff on earth.…It is smeared with various substances, ground into balls and in the morning, fried up into a counterfeit version of French toast.” And that is how I came to concoct my version of Passover granola.
Matzah, again? Those are words I heard over and over as I, too, served afflicted matzah—with butter and eggs for breakfast, with sour cream and sugar for snacks, with peanut butter or Nutella for lunch.
My family had no choice as we went through Passover held hostage to the dry square, perforated cracker we served with nearly every meal. This may be a way to imagine the life of the afflicted or those fleeing their homeland, but it didn’t help keep the peace in my home.
So I pondered how to make a treat that would be welcome and useful for some of those meals and snacks. Reflecting on the kind of nibbles we ate on a regular basis and hoping for a post-Passover kitchen without another leftover box of matzah, I discovered that I could make a really good granola snack from crumbled matzah or farfel (truthfully, pieces of matzah resembling dog kibble). As I made a few “only fair” attempts, I began to hunt the internet and found a number of granola recipes.
Plowing ahead and testing various out, I ended up with a version that was not just edible—like matzah—but delicious.