First, was matzah sold out at your local supermarket right when Passover began (last Friday night)? Here in northern Palm Beach County, matzah was more popular than Hunter Biden original oil paintings. Both Publix and Whole Foods were sold out.
Publix, however, did have Carr’s Table Water Crackers:
It doesn’t look too much like the square matzah that is normally available in epic quantities, but what about this Schmurah Matzah?
(For some background on this, see Chabad’s article:
Shmurah means “watched,” and it is an apt description of this matzah, the ingredients of which (the flour and water) are watched from the moment of harvesting and drawing.
The day chosen for the harvesting of the wheat is a clear, dry day. The moment it is harvested, the wheat is inspected to ensure that there is absolutely no moisture. From then on, careful watch is kept upon the grains as they are transported to the mill. The mill is meticulously inspected by rabbis and supervision professionals to ensure that every piece of equipment is absolutely clean and dry. After the wheat is milled, the flour is again guarded in its transportation to the bakery. Thus, from the moment of harvesting through the actual baking of the matzah, the flour is carefully watched to ensure against any contact with water.
Yeast is not listed as an ingredient by Carr’s. Wikipedia says that the water cracker was designed for extended travels (40 years?).
Matzah is not the only thing that I’ve noticed being unavailable recently. Here’s a partial list:
- paper towels (Costco)
- toilet paper (Costco)
- printer/copier paper (CVS)
Are Americans back to hoarding? What are they doing with all of the printer paper? With many offices still shut down and people working from home where they may not have a printer, how is it possible for us to have run out of standard 8.5×11″ paper?
Oh yes, and Happy Passover to all readers who practice Jewcraft!
30 thoughts on “Do Carr’s Table Water Crackers qualify as mini-Schmurah Matzah?”
> how is it possible for us to have run out of standard 8.5×11″ paper?
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that 2021 was a pretty dismal year in the paper industry. Lots of mill closures, “supply chain problems”, price hikes, labor problems, etc. For about 2-3 months it was almost impossible to find regular #9 and #10 mailing envelopes anywhere on the east coast. It’s still difficult to find them and they’re more expensive. I would not be at all surprised if some production capacity is being shifted from cut-sheet production to envelope production, etc. Many envelopes are #24 white wove, basically the same as good copy paper.
I should add: It was difficult to find them at *bulk prices* – not the 300% markup prices in retail stores like CVS or Staples ( https://www.staples.com/Staples-Gummed-10-Envelope-4-1-8-x-9-1-2-White-500-Box-187013NB/product_187013 ) where someone goes and buys a box of 500 and has enough envelopes in their home office to last until the year 2100. It became difficult and expensive to source them in bulk quantities of 10,000 and up.
I suspect that “supply chain problems” are trickling down to copy paper at CVS.
Staples *does* have a good deal on TRU RED™ 8.5×11 20# paper: $53.49 for 5000 sheets, or $0.0107 per sheet which is not bad for retail pricing right now. It’s not super-bright, it’s not very heavy, and it’s “best for black and white printing” but it’s also not a bad deal. Try Staples.
China is terrified of the corona virus and shutting down (again) so we might be able to blame them for anything that isn’t readily available at Costco, including Hunter Biden original oil paintings.
‘It’s probably worse than Wuhan’: Experts warn China’s COVID-19 lockdowns will once again cripple global supply chains
April 19, 2022 5:00 AM CDT
Sadly, the number of times god wanted lions to break the law or ruin someone’s life have made us not so religious by middle age. God is a slippery dick. Guess US’s enforcement of righteous social order & righteous foods can be considered a joining of church & state, unlike Greenspun’s worshiping of crackers.
I always buy non-perishables in bulk and like real kulak “hoarded” 8.5×11 printer paper case back before coronavirus. I have barely printed on 2 packs of paper yet. It was wise investment for me, hope that Philip will not agitate for expropriation of my ill-gained discounted printing paper.
And yes, I bought a case of Matzos BEFORE Passover. In my defense I am not hoarding leavened bread at the moment.
Europeans are hoarding flour and toilet paper because of the Ukraine situation. Both products are probably also bought in huge quantities by refugee help organizations. Flour shelves are often empty.
So if I understand right Shmurah is about ensuring the grain does not accidentally acquire natural sourdough cultures that would make it leavened.
My paper consumption exploded with remote school, from one 500-page sheaf every 4 years or so to one every two months.
> one 500-page sheaf
If a cracker identifies as unleavened, it is matzo.
If a shrimp identifies as a fish, it is kosher.
Instead of following anachronistic rules, just ask Mx Scampi what they is!
Steve: This is a great idea for broadening the menu during Pesach! Bacon Avocado Toast that identifies as Hillel’s sandwich (horseradish and charoset (apples/walnuts) on matzah). A standard Publix chocolate cake that identifies as one of those nasty Passover desserts.
Apparently Ukraine made most of the world’s Matzah, so at least the east coast doesn’t have any. Maybe god will cut voters a break, since the holy vote was to sleep through the bombings.
lion, do not fall for fake news. matzah was plentiful for this Passover, subject to common inflation pricing. It just main part of Passover is over and large grocers stock only enough for pre-holiday shopping. I guess that Philip has to order online with overnight delivery
perplexed: the supermarkets in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens (one town south) said that they’d sold out before Friday (the first night). I don’t remember ever seeing a big supermarket sold out of matzah before, even at non-Passover times of year (not that I can fathom why anyone would want some other than at Passover!).
Philip, first a second seders (past Friday and Saturday) are the main thing. This year (last year yield) matzo is not supposed to be eaten until 1st seder (last past Friday night). No leavened bread was supposed to be consumed after about 10:30 AM last past Friday. All non-matzo grains were supposed to be removed by about 12 PM this past Friday. Nobody waits to buy matzo past Passover start, anyone who planned to observe started to prepare weeks in advance. Supermarkets operate on thin margins, they usually do not stock on matzo year round. After Passover they have discounted sales on not sold Passover items, they are trying to minimize them. Florida may be special case, they have many NE implants this year, and many now consider matza NY/NJ, net necessary observant Jewish, thing.
perplexed: Where do you live? Are you saying that the biggest supermarkets within 15 miles of your house don’t carry matzah in, say, October?
“It turns out that there’s a big market for matzo outside of Passover — Gross said Passover matzo constituted only 35%-40% of Streit’s sales.”
Philip, I live in NE borderline of fly-over land and absolutely, general supermarkets here do not carry matza year round, I am not talking about specialized kosher stores. They have few kosher shelves in international food section that may or may not have a box of chocolate covered matza on display among other staff. Sams Club does have bulk matza and other Passover food only for Passover, nothing year round.
Probably Streit’s makes money on expensive items such chocolate – covered matza or diary (butter) matza that is not kosher for Passover and not used for Passover, it just fancy staff for year round consumption and it costs more then matza.
perplexed: Interesting. Thanks! I think every supermarket in the Boston area carried matzah year-round. It would be on the end cap for Passover in prodigious quantities and reduced to a few boxes in the “international foods” aisle for the rest of the year, but it was never sold out that I can remember. Costco might sometimes bring it in pre-Passover, but never year-round. I actually got shmurah matzah once at Costco, I think (supporting evidence: https://kosheronabudget.com/check-your-costco-1-lb-handmade-shmura-matza-for-12-99/ ).
It’s interesting that matzah making requires the grain to be perfectly dry and unleavened – presumably to avoid mold, which makes matzah a “survival” food in my book. Yeast is a fungus and if you’re trying to make bread that retains some nourishment and is completely free of mold and fungus, you obviously want everything perfectly dry and unleavened.
Does this make Jews the Original Preppers?
Furthermore, would they have discovered penicillin prior to 1928 if their rules for matzah had not been so exacting?
“Fleming found that his “mold juice” was capable of killing a wide range of harmful bacteria, such as streptococcus, meningococcus and the diphtheria bacillus. He then set his assistants, Stuart Craddock and Frederick Ridley, the difficult task of isolating pure penicillin from the mold juice. It proved to be very unstable, and they were only able to prepare solutions of crude material to work with. Fleming published his findings in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology in June 1929, with only a passing reference to penicillin’s potential therapeutic benefits. At this stage it looked as if its main application would be in isolating penicillin-insensitive bacteria from penicillin-sensitive bacteria in a mixed culture. “
Alex, Jews and penicillin are not separable https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1945/summary/
@Anonymous: Thank you for that reference. I didn’t know that, and I’m glad he won 1/3rd the Prize. I think it was a time when the Nobel Prize actually meant something good, and penicillin and its derivatives have saved many, many lives over the years, maybe including mine recently. It’s too long a story to tell in full, but I had an infection after a major surgery and was prescribed 850 mg. tablets of amox-clav, commonly known as “Augmentin” which worked just as it should. Amoxicillin is of course a penicillin derivative.
So I personally thank everyone who participated in the discovery of penicillin, even though I can only thank them posthumously.
“Do Carr’s Table Water Crackers qualify as mini-Schmurah Matzah?” – no, shmurah matzos are hand backed on special stove. Before advent of mechanization (matza production was one of the first or first foods which production was automated) all matza was shmurah.
And as Fazal Majid mentioned. Carr’s Table Water Crackers do not qualify as kosher for Passover because of possible humidity and sourdough fungus contamination form air, the same reason regular wheat flower must not be present during Passover.
Here’s an interesting video: “Machine Matzoh Production 2012”
I’ve read that there’s a paper shortage due to all the pulp going toward cardboard, to make the boxes that Amazon needs for its deliveries. Apparently some magazines are actually cutting back on page count in order to free up enough pulp for people to order knock-off goods from their favorite unaccountable monopoly. (More about Amazon – https://creativegood.com/blog/22/why-you-should-resist-amazon.html )
@Mark Hurst: That’s a good point. It makes intuitive sense. It would be very interesting to see the deltas in the amount of cardboard being produced for boxes and the amount being recycled over the past ten years.
I can see some of the deltas in the looks on the faces of the UPS drivers where I live. It’s a little town but the UPS trucks are running all the time, sometimes several at a time. It’s a huge difference from a decade ago. I did a little arithmetic this afternoon and calculated that in the past five years the US has probably used enough cardboard to cover the entire surface of New Jersey and Massachusetts combined.
Now that I think about this some more, I wonder if the supermarkets in the Florida Free State ran out of matzah because they underestimated the number of Jews who escaped from MD, NJ, NY, CT, and MA over the past year.
Inflation for flour is at 14.2% per year:
If this continues, I suggest emergency use authorization for Carr’s Table Water Crackers as a matzah substitute for next year.
If you think that Jewish laws and tradition are there to save money you are not right!
The phrase “emergency use authorization” might have been a clue that I wasn’t entirely serious!
Anon: California proves that if it is emergency use authorized then it can be required by public schools for 5-year-olds! I don’t see the problem.
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