making matza 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
WASHINGTON – What makes your matza different from all other matza? That’s
something the newly founded Jewish Food Experience wants to find out.
group, which was launched this month in Washington to foster Jewish identity and
community through food, is holding a contest to determine who can come up with
the most creative use of matza.
There are two types of entries being
solicited by the March 29 deadline – an inventive recipe using matza (which
doesn’t have to be kosher for Passover) or a photo of matza being used in an
unusual way, for example as an art object or household item.
how much matza you buy, there’s always a box left over,” joked Susan Barocas,
the Jewish Food Experience’s project director, who said the contest was a good
way to use up the extra box.
The organization, funded by the Jewish
Federation of Greater Washington, is hoping that the funky idea, as well as the
$200 in wine, food and autographed cookbooks that winners receive, will be the
first of many endeavors that cause members of the Jewish community to bond over
their collective gustatory heritage.
“Food is something that over the
years has connected people,” Barocas noted. “The Jewish Food Experience is
bringing Jews from all ages, all walks of life [together] around food to build
community, Jewish identity and connections to Jewish culture and
The group, whose advisory council includes renowned Jewish
cookbook authors Joan Nathan and Todd Gray, has created a website posting local
Jewish-themed dining events, recipes for various holidays, articles about
food-related issues and, of course, the details for the matza
The group launched the project on Tuesday at Gray’s Washington
eatery Equinox, one of the city’s top restaurants, complete with a demonstration
by Gray himself of modern takes on Passover favorites.
He noted that all
of his concocotions are made according to the season and which items can be
obtained at a given time of year.
He also encouraged those watching his
complex cooking – which included grating beets, tossing in some Quantro and
tying up smoked salmon in a cheesecloth to produce pink sheets of fish perfectly
edged with a maroon lining – that anyone could be successful “if you follow the
recipe very carefully.”
Barocas said that the focus of Jewish Food
Experience is very local, because that’s what works best given the emphasis on
cooking and eating together and serving as a resource for residents interested
in finding out more about Jewish cuisine in the Washington area.
those involved hope it will become a national model for Jewish communities to
form their own similar groups based on what the Jewish Food Experience has
And Barocas did point to one global message the organization
hopes to deliver: “Jewish food isn’t just bagels and lox.”