I met a new friend for lunch the other day and ordered this delicious Quinoa Salad. When the dish arrived I commented that Quinoa looks a lot like seed beads. (I know beads – I work it into EVERYTHING!) My friend says that I wouldn’t be ordering this dish if I were Kosher. I said Huh? Well, she informed me that it was Passover and Quinoa is one of many grains that are banned on that day. I filed that away for more research and sure enough here’s what I found.
In Biblical times, one didn’t want to cross the Rabbi’s. They made the rules upon which you lived your daily life. Break the rules and there were serious consequences both within your community and the likely hood of getting into the Hereafter. Many of the rules had to do with what you did and didn’t eat and when. Not eating bread during Passover is one of those rules.
Most likely no one has been excommunicated for eating a sandwich during Passover in quite some time, if ever, but the fact remains that the dietary laws during the holiday, beginning at sundown on Friday, are very, very serious. And yet they’re also completely muddled and chaotic. People obey totally different rules based on where they’re from, and every once in awhile a prominent rabbi looks at an old rule and says “this is stupid” and that rule no longer counts. To this day, groups of scholars issue rulings on whether it’s okay to, say, eat quinoa.
A commonly, but by no means exclusively, accepted ruling is that any grain that has been combined with water for 18 minutes or more qualifies as a chametz product and is thus forbidden. The 18-minute rule dates to a conversation between two scholars held sometime around 200 CE; one rabbi, an enormously fat scholar named Shimon ben Lakish, opined that the time it takes for chametz-potential products to become actual chametz is “as long as it takes a man to walk from Migdal Nunaiya to Tiberias.”
On Google Maps, Migdal Nunaiya, now called Migdal and known as Mary Magdalene’s hometown, is about five miles from Tiberias, or one hour and 42 minutes by foot. It is unclear how this trip ever took 18 minutes. Today, in a car, it takes 11.
So the 18-minute mark is not always obeyed; scholars up to the modern day have debated exactly how long it takes for chametz-potential ingredients to ferment into chametz. After all, some products take longer to ferment than others—surely this should be taken into consideration! There’s no conclusion on that, partly because there’s no conclusion on any of this.
So the net net of this is that this is a delicious recipe (click on the photo) and who new quinoa could be so interesting?