My mom is under pressure. Pesach is coming. Pesach is, of course, the jewish holiday in which jewish people are not supposed to own or eat hametz- any kind of food that has wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt in it. It’s been a month that my parents’ home life revolves around Pesach, that will arrive in three weeks and one day exactly. Pesach is also called the freedom holiday. Well… it doesn’t feel like it when you look at my mom. She hasn’t stopped working for three weeks. She’s busy. Cleaning and throwing, throwing and cleaning. Just working constantly. Now, my mom is not religious. She fasted on Yom Kippur, sure, but there’s no way you can call her religious, her madness for the Pesach cleaning comes from a deeper place. Probably from her home, her childhood, her mother.
Ever since I can remember myself, Pesach is sacred.
Every year since I was a child, life in my parents’ home has been going on like this: one month before Pesach, you don’t buy any new chametz. Three weeks before Pesach, there is only one small shelf in the fridge + one basket on the kitchen counter, and there, and only there, it is permissible to put chametz. Two weeks before Pesach, my mom begins to throw out all of her spices, because of the possibility they’ve been touched by chametz. Throw, not put in a closed box in the upper closet or in the garage – throw. A week before Pesach the chametz doesn’t enter the house and every evening ends with a falafel on the steps outside the apartment. every evening. That’s how it was when I was a child and that’s how it happens today.
My parents’ house, that is spotless every day of the year (cleaning bleach is the smell of my childhood), goes into a constant state of being cleaned, meaning all the chairs are raised, the rugs are sent for cleaning and then rolled back until the evening before the Seder, then they will be spread for the holiday, there is always a bucket and 2-3 bottles in the hall, and mopping cloths everywhere.
But the truth is that it’s all worth it when you get to my parents’ house at noon before the Seder (Pesach eve). The whole house is screaming holiday, the curtains stand proud, there is always some new pillows or decoration that wasn’t there before, of course there are flowers and everything is clean, inviting, quiet, there is no hint of the chaos it has undergone in recent weeks. I love this feeling so much. I enter the house and my soul rises differently from any other day of the year. And in those moments I can not help but wonder if all this madness, all the hard work my mom (and dad!) put for weeks, maybe it just pays off.
Just a small thing before I get to the recipe… Mom, if you read it, despite the magic that happens to the house on the eve of Pesach, my dream is that next year you will take a break from all of it, skip all this hard work for a year, maybe take a trip abroad for the holiday, the spring is a wonderful season 😊
These crackers are so delicious and crunchy that you just have to make them. Packed with so many different kinds of seeds and pistachios, they are an addictive snack but with ingredients that make it a healthy snack. The making of the crackers is a child game – just mix all the ingredients in the bowl, but the trick is in the baking, and to get perfect crackers you should make sure to take the crackers out of the oven only when they are dry and not before because no one likes soft crackers (otherwise they wouldn’t call it crackers!). By the way, my mother will probably say, at this stage of the year, that it is a great recipe for removing chametz from the house:)
Vegan Spelt Crackers
- 38X32-cm -or- 18X13-in large oven baking pan
- 1/2 cup spelt flour (I use whole spelt flour)
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame (I use whole sesame)
- 1/4 cup pistachios, , coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water
- For salt lovers – 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt to sprinkle over
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and prepare a standard baking pan lined with baking paper.
- In a mixing bowl, put all the ingredients in the recipe, while keeping aside about a tablespoon of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and pistachios, plus a little bit of nigella seeds, to sprinkle over. Mix all the ingredients with a fork or a spoon until the mixture is even.
- Spread the mixture on the baking paper and spread it using spatula or platter in a thin layer to cover the entire pan. Sprinkle the seeds and pistachios we left on the side and coarse salt if desired (optional for those who like their crackers extra salty). Place the pan in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the oven until the dough is slightly thickens. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and with a knife cut the dough to your desired crackers shape and size (rectangles, squares, whatever you like).
- Lower the heat in the oven to 320°F/160°C and place the crackers back in the oven for another 35 minutes, but check after 30 minutes. The crackers are supposed to come out of the oven firm and not soft in any way. Because of the differences between ovens, the baking time at this stage can range from 30-40 minutes, so I recommend checking every 3 minutes the first time you prepare.
- Remove and let cool completely. The crackers can be kept in a sealed box for up to 4 days.