As a Jewish child growing up in a considerably observant Ashkenazi household, Passover was one of my least favorite holidays. The cleaning of the house, the hiding of the bread, the replacement of said hidden bread with matzah. It was a painful process for my pre-teen soul. I just wanted to eat pizza and cookies and not have an eight day diet of Passover-friendly foods that all tasted like cardboard to me. Back then, the eight days of Passover felt like an eternity. A bread, rice and taste-free eternity.

As I grew up, moved out, and started to examine my religion a little more seriously, I realized that Passover was one of my favorite holidays of the year. Sure, the food wasn’t ideal, but it was a cleansing experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to learn exactly what I could and could not enjoy during this eight day exercise in self-control, eventually including what I could and could not drink.

Matzah image via Shutterstock