As a Jew who grew up pretty Jewy (a Bar Mitzvah, Passover seders, an original last name of Rothenberg (changed by my grandparents)), I never got very excited about matzoh. Sure, come April, the inevitable boxes would show up at the store and my mom would by some and we’d spread it with butter (a memory I hadn’t remembered until I wrote this sentence, but now that I remember it, it is a nice taste memory). For those who’ve never experienced matzoh, imagine if cardboard and bread had a baby–that’s matzoh. It’s stiff, it’s crackery, it’s often pretty flavorless. Who gets excited about matzoh?
Apparently: Ruth Reichl and Calvin Trillin.
On Twitter, over Thanksgiving, Ruth Reichl Tweeted the following: “Bud Trillin gets the award for best house present: Arrived for Thanksgiving with spiced matzo from Blue Ribbon and dumplings from Supertaste.”
Then later, Reichl wrote on her blog: “Today I’m craving the savory matzos from Blue Ribbon Bakery. ‘Matzo’ doesn’t begin to describe these crisp, cheesy crackers (although while we’re on the subject, is there anything more delicious than a square of matzo spread with cold sweet butter?), but they are utterly impossible to stop eating. These wonderfully crackly rounds taste of garlic, rosemary and parmesan cheese leave your fingers slicked with such delicious olive oil that you simply have to lick them clean. We ate dozens of them during Thanksgiving week, and I am feeling bereft now that they’re gone.”
How can I follow a description like that?
All I will say is that this Jew is now a matzoh convert. Last week, when I cooked dinner for everyone’s favorite Parisian food blogger, Clotilde Dusoulier (post forthcoming), I made a special trip to Blue Ribbon bakery to pick up some of these spiced matzos. When I told the friendly counter guy there where I’d heard about it, he was delighted. “Two of the greatest food writers in the world love our matzoh?” he smiled exuberantly. “How do I find this? I don’t use Twitter!”
I helped him pull up the Tweet and now Blue Ribbon bakers can pat themselves on the back for transforming matzoh from a glorified cracker into something truly special. If you’re in the West Village and dubious of gourmet matzoh, take a stroll down Bedford Street and let this matzoh put a smile on your punim. You’ll be saying shalom to all other matzoh in no time.