April 21, 2014

Chocolate, Passover, and More

Observations on Passover from yesterday's New York Times.

I am a vegetarian, and it’s Passover. So until Tuesday night I am abstaining not only from all kinds of meat — beef, chicken, fish — but also from my usual low-fat alternatives, like bread, cereal and pasta. The holiday strictures laid out by Leviticus, added to my usual ethics, leave me this week with a heart-hostile diet of eggs, cheese, buttered matzo and my wife’s flourless chocolate cake.

In a general plea for better nutrition, Mark Oppenheimer ends with this unexpected conclusion.

But more important, sweets, unlike commuter miles in an S.U.V., are necessary to the good life. We wisely use sweets to celebrate milestones. Sweets help make family rituals: My father believed that one was remiss not to drink Coca-Cola with our Friday-night pizza. And, as I am reminded this week, foods sanctify religious occasions. Right now, my family’s special collision of vegetarianism and Judaism necessitates a good bit of chocolate. But when Passover ends, that doesn’t mean we should put the chocolate cake, or the chocolate milk, away.

I say yes to the chocolate, but I can leave the matzo.