Every year it seems like there are more and more Kosher for Passover items at our local grocery store. Everything from cakes and cookies to cleaning products can be found with the official seal of approval for use during the holiday. Keep in mind that the prices of these items can be much higher than their non-Kosher for Passover alternatives. The whole marketing aspect of Passover is a rather intriguing concept as consumers completely put their trust and faith in manufacturers to provide products that are in line with dietary laws written thousands of years ago.
Case in point – My husband’s cousin Bruce loves Passover and all of the little treats and goodies for the holiday. It’s the one time of year when he really cleans house, and he delights in having family over for a long drawn out seder that lasts for many hours. I won’t go into the time that I nearly puked up the gnarliest gefilte fish ever on his tablecloth. I’ll just limit it to saying that cooking isn’t his particular forte.
We’ve enjoyed our fair share of seders at Bruce’s house and always teased Bruce about his penchant for buying Kosher for Passover Diet Coke for his celebration. Of course, no one but Bruce was drinking the stuff, but it was always funny that this ubiquitous beverage actually had a special formula to meet the needs of Passover-observing soda drinkers.
In fact, Bruce stocks up on his special Diet Coke so that he has enough to last him the entire eight days of the holiday. This is not an inexpensive decision considering the fact that he pays a ridiculously inflated price per bottle. Heaven knows how many bottles Bruce downs in a day, but he must need to set aside at least a couple of hundred to keep him caffeinated and hydrated during Passover.
I always wondered if Bruce was being suckered by Coca Cola. Could there really be any difference between his typical chemical-laden fizzy drink and the more expensive Kosher for Passover version? So, today as we commence the start of Passover, I did a little research about this rather random topic.
What did I find out? Well, actually Kosher for Passover Coke is the real deal. Instead of being sweetened with corn syrup, it is loaded with cane sugar. Yum! Apparently corn syrup is made from one of the grains considered to be chametz or forbidden during Passover. The others are wheat, oats, barley, rye, and spelt. I guess I’ll have to put away my favorite nine-grain bread for the week. Anyway, the holiday Diet Coke that cousin Brucie was drinking actually makes sense for Passover.
That being said, I still think that many of the Kosher for Passover items being sold at a premium are more about marketing than they are about keeping with observances. Yes, we bought the matzah and all the fixings for our family seder. However, you won’t see a pricy bottle of Coke on our table. We’re sticking with the wine instead!