Matzah Brei: It’s All It’s Cracked Up To Be

In the last post, Josie mentioned disappointing brunch food. Normally, brunch food comes in two categories: 1. Average and diner-esque 2. Delicious, but ridiculously overpriced. Breakfast food is so easy and simple to make so where is this nonsense added price coming from? Do restaurants think they can capitalize on serving a meal that mixes together 2 other meals? Who knows. What I do know is that when you look back on your childhood one of the first dishes you probably made was scrambled eggs. Cracking an egg for a child, and even for me now, is monumentally fun. It’s cracking the shell into the world of cooking and the world of all life forms.

I don’t know if it is because of my new idol, Ruth Reichl, or the reemergence of my Jewishness that seems to come back every few months but yesterday for dinner I wanted Matzah Brei. It is a simple dish that is basically the ingredients of plain scrambled eggs or an omelet with the addition of matzah crackers. This dish is most commonly a brunch food that makes a large showing during passover when leavened bread is not allowed. The truly interesting part of this dish is that it is a blank canvas and depending on what area your Jewish ancestors were from affects whether the dish is sweet or savory. You can either put salsa on it or applesauce and jam. It can either be scrambled or more like an omelet. Since becoming a devout Ruth Reichl convert, I used her simple recipe religiously and broke it into pieces like scrambled eggs. She may have been the LA and NY Times food critic and the editor of Gourmet magazine but this dish could not be any simpler. 2 eggs, 2 matzah crackers, salt, and butter. You break the matzah, you get it damp with water, you crack eggs, stir, and fry. When it came time to dress it up, I chose applesauce. It seemed the most fitting. I don’t really remember this dish as a kid but I always saw my grandma putting orange marmalade on matzah for breakfast.

Later, the night of my BFD (brunch for dinner), I talked to my mom and told her about my dinner. She claimed that she  and my grandma used to always make this dish for me as a kid. I might not remember this, but as soon as I took my first bite it felt just like home. When I asked my mom how it was served for me as a kid, she replied, “With jam.” Not a surprise, I know that my family is Ashkenazi with more of a sweet rather than savory palate. By sweet, I mean fruity. My grandma introduced me to the joys, from an early age, of raisins in everything. From carrot salad to stuffed hen and bran muffins, nothing was without raisins. In fact, I am looking for a stuffed cabbage recipe with meat and raisins similar to the one she used to make. If you have such a delicious recipe pass it on and if you are looking for a cheap and delicious comfort brunch food add this to your repertoire. From the breaking of crackers to the cracking of eggs, this is a perfect no fail UG dish! Crack on, this dish is all it is cracked up to be!

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