CHER DOES SEDER

In Fred A. Bernstein’s “The Jewish Mothers’ Hall of Fame,” Florence, a Holocaust

survivor and mother of rock star, Gene Simmons, shared her Yiddishkeit with Gene’s pop-star pals. One year Gene brought Cher and her family to his mom’s home for a Passover Seder. Mom was thrilled. “I said, ‘Gene, you’re bringing Cher? She’s such a fancy, schmancy lady.’ And Gene said, ‘No, she’s just an ordinary, nice person.’ And Gene was right.” All wore yarmulkes for the services, led by Gene. Gene’s chauffeur also attended. “I always invite him in,” said Florence. “What’s another plate?”

Joan Rivers: “Seders in L.A. are so showbiz…”

YOU BET!

Outside New York City, the Kosher for Passover certification on Fox’s U-Bet’s syrup (which includes a recipe for the New York Egg Cream on its back label) has helped to ensure that the drink lives on, even if only as a tasty chaser for matzo. Personally, I love the stuff.

CELEB PASSOVER TWEETS:

The Forward kept a record of the most interesting Pesach tweets. I now borrow a few:

Joan Rivers: Heading to Melissa’s for Passover. Seders in L.A. are so showbiz – until Elijah arrives, we’ve hired a seat filler from the Oscars.

Ari Shapiro: ‘tis the season to throw out the half jar of horseradish that’s been in my fridge since last Passover & buy a new one. Fa la…

Steven Van Zandt: Yes there was a Seder in one of the backstage rooms last night. Russo’s line was Wrecking Matzo Ball!

Andy Borowitz: “Chocolate bunnies? Too obvious. Let’s go with bitter herbs and saltwater.” – The man who invented Passover

Dan Levy: Passover is a great holiday if you don’t hate your parents and love being constipated.

THE GREAT SINKER/FLOATER DEBATE

You love light, I love heavy. Is there a greater debate than sinkers vs. floaters? The battle of the matzo balls has been going on forever. There are the traditionalists who use shmaltz vs. the revisionists, healthy people who like fluff. (OK I’m prejudiced.)

Joan Nathan prefers her matzo balls "a little bit al dente.” (Wha? Are we talking spaghetti?) Food writer and restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton favors a slightly solid center, surrounded by a fluffier exterior: "I like to feel the matzo balls against the spoon, but I hate when they are hard and gummy." Her secret? Enough fat to produce a silken texture but not so much that the balls are greasy.

Jack Lebewohl, owner of Manhattan's Second Avenue Deli, is diplomatic: "You prefer what you're used to," he asserts. Yet, he serves his trademark enormous, fluffy, golden matzo balls since his brother Abe opened it in 1954, using their mother's recipes. But even Jack has his strong opinions: He insists that schmaltz is the only appropriate fat, joking that matzo balls made with butter or oil are "assimilated."

INTERESTING MATZO FACTS:

In 1888, a Lithuanian immigrant named Dov Behr opened the first matzo-making factory in Cincinnati, Ohio. Behr adopted the name Manischewitz, named his factory the B. Manischewitz Company and developed an entirely automated method of matzo production. In advertisements, Manischewitz boasted that "no human hand touches these matzos!" By 1920, he was the world's largest matzo producer -- at 1.25 million rectangular, sheet like matzos a day -- but he always adhered to kosher rules. As Manischewitz’s popularity grew, so did the general perception of matzo. Machine-made matzo was uniform in size, shape, taste and texture. Manischewitz endured some controversy for his use of machines, but after he spent 13 years studying the Talmud in Jerusalem, even the most hardened traditionalists eventually considered him an acceptable authority on matzo.

MORE INTERESTING MATZO FACTS:

1. A matzo bakery was invited to the 1938 New York World's Fair, but for unknown reasons never appeared.

2. In 1973, Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan shouted, "Man, oh, Manischewitz," the matzo company's slogan, in the middle of his moonwalk.

3. In 2008, competitive-eating champion Joey Chestnut ate 78 matzo balls in eight minutes for a $1,500 prize.

Have a healthy and kosher Passover!

Love, Marnie