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 Post subject: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2016, 08:50 
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Learning the difference - can and may
Learning the difference - can and may

Joined: 22 Feb 2008, 18:42
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Location: Perthshire
Can anyone help me out here? Re-reading Exile and Herr Goldmann used to send Joey 'Passover cake' every year. It sounds (from the text) as though EBD thought there was 'one' thing that would be understood as Passover cake - a bit like Christmas cake - whereas Prof Google tells me that while there are lots of recipes (and rules) there is no 'one' cake. Is that right?

Also, does anyone know if it would be a usual thing to do to send someone a piece of 'Passover cake' or was EBD conflating it with her own ideas of sending/sharing cake to mark ceremonies, such as weddings and baptisms in the Christian tradition?


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 Post subject: Re: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2016, 09:00 
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I'd always wondered about this. However, the mystery was unintentionally solved for me by the Manchester Evening News, which, every Saturday, has a page featuring articles from "this week 100 years ago" :D. In April, there was an article about how Manchester's Jewish community would be marking Passover - in 1916 - and it turned out, from this article, that "Passover cake" was actually an old-fashioned English term for matzah/unleavened bread, eaten at Passover because of the Bible story about slaves fleeing Egypt and not having time to let their bread "rise". I'd never heard the expression, as in meaning something specific rather than just any kosher-for-Passover cake, anywhere before, other than in Exile.

I was rather disappointed. I'd been thinking of it as a nice cake!!

It's like this.

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 Post subject: Re: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2016, 21:40 
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Dommy Sci lesson
Dommy Sci lesson

Joined: 29 Aug 2004, 21:55
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Location: Jerusalem, Israel
That is interesting. I have never heard matzah referred to as cakes before, but it is a literal tranlation of the term used in the Bible. Ugot matzah - cakes of matzah. In modern hebrew, 'ugah' means cake so I suppose one can see how the term would come about.

The actual cakes one bakes on Pasover contain no flour, and are often very airy and baked using potato starch and ground nuts instead of flour. They can be very good but are often delicate and easy to ruin. They also dry out very quickly so they don't last long. (With the entire family gathered togather, this is rarely a problem!)

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 Post subject: Re: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2016, 14:18 
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Learning the difference - can and may
Learning the difference - can and may

Joined: 22 Feb 2008, 18:42
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Thanks both, very kind of you.

Miriam, would it be something you'd share with neighbours and friends like Herr Goldmann apparently sending Passover cake to Joey every year?


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 Post subject: Re: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2016, 10:00 
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Joined: 19 Nov 2015, 19:38
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Not quite the same but a parallel perhaps? My Gran's husband was Polish and every Easter his sister sent him what looked to us like Communion wafers with his Easter card? Is this something other people remember or have seen?


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 Post subject: Re: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2016, 13:31 
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Promising to do better
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Joined: 17 Nov 2011, 02:45
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I don't know of it as an easter tradition but I do know of the "Christmas Wafer" tradition which is Polish.

"Christmas Wafers" are thin unleavened breads that do look very much like Communion wafers and which often have embossed Christmas themes or symbols. Naturally they are not consecrated!

I would suggest that Herr Goldmann is an Ashkenazi Jew and, as a result, shares many traditions with East Europe. The sending of Passover cake resembles the sharing of unleavened bread at Eastern European major celebrations and festivals plus the equally traditional gift of bread-and-salt given as a symbolic wish of good luck and prosperity.


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 Post subject: Re: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 19:55 
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Dommy Sci lesson
Dommy Sci lesson

Joined: 29 Aug 2004, 21:55
Posts: 322
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
JS wrote:
Thanks both, very kind of you.

Miriam, would it be something you'd share with neighbours and friends like Herr Goldmann apparently sending Passover cake to Joey every year?


Not really. There is no reason why not, but I have never heard of it being done. Matzah is purely a combination of flour and water, mixed, rolled very thin and flat, and then baked, all in less than eighteen minutes. No other ingredients are allowed, so the final product is crispy but often has a rather monotonous taste and texture, and is tedious to eat.

It replaces normal (leavened) bread during the eight days of Passover, and everyone just goes out and buys an adequate amount for their family before the beginning of Passover. The only time I have ever heard of it being shared is when one family underestimates how much they will need, and borrows some of the surplus from a neighbour.

Joey would have seen it as an unusual delicacy, and would probably have enjoyed eating a small amount of an unusual food, but by the end of eight days, you are normally very happy to get back to eating normal bread again. I've wondered if Herr Goldman sent Joey matzah as a way of disposing of his surplus!

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... Anna made up her mind for once and all that there must be something about the Chalet School that affected all concerned with it with mild insanity!


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 Post subject: Re: Passover cake - help requested
PostPosted: 28 Dec 2016, 04:52 
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Joined: 17 Oct 2004, 02:39
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I can easily imagine Joey having a conversation with him, and he responding by sending her some matzah. And her breaking her watch again and thanking him, and it becoming a tradition.

But there's no such thing as "Passover cake." Sounds like EBD had read something and was trying her best to be ecumenical.


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