U-Bet!

It will be Pesach in a few hours.  I should run over to the Mollie Stone’s and pick up some things.  Mollie’s has the most extensive selection of kosher food in town.

I wonder if the market will be overrun by last-minute shoppers.  I imagine no parking, crowded aisles, and empty shelves.  I suspect this is how the goyim feel when they must go to the toy store the last day before Christmas.

Maybe there is nothing so urgent.  My natural superfood meal plan is good to go 364 days a year.

Some while back, me and my friend Elaine got to talking about the Passover foods of our youth.  Uy, how I hated the processed, preserved, packaged provisions that plagued us for eight long days.

The tasteless and crumbly plain matzah in the cardboard box was no substitute for the sweet and pliable seedless rye we got from Dave Jacobs’ bakery on the nights that were not different from all other nights.

The canned macaroons were sticky to the touch and tasted nothing like a Mounds bar — the closest we’d ever come to a real coconut.  You would chew and chew these so-called cookies only to form a dry paste that never felt quite ready to swallow.

Worst of all were the jars of gefilte fish.  The plops — which bore no resemblance to flounder or tuna or salmon in appearance or texture or flavor — floated around in this disgusting gelatinous goop like some science experiment gone badly wrong.

(In her diary, Anne Frank writes that she and the others hiding in the secret annex had to urinate and defecate into glass jars.  The first time I read this, an image of those gefilte fish jars immediately sprung to mind.)

But, I told Elaine, there was one thing that I really, really, really liked and that was Fox’s U-bet, a chocolate-flavored syrup.  We only got to have it during Pesach and we used it to make chocolate milk, so much better than an egg cream.

Fox’s U-bet was different from all other chocolate syrups.  The special ingredient was milk powder, which gave it a kind of malted quality.  Otherwise, it was terribly sweet and unsophisticated.  I just loved it.

A few weeks later, Elaine brought to me a gift.  A large jar of U-bet!  It was absolutely perfect.  An exodus from the ordinary.  A liberation for the palate.  It made me to feel very, very happy.

Chag sameach!

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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