City Living

Desperately Seeking Tam Tams


hide captionWhere are the Tam Tams?

Laura Silver/NPR

They're hexagonal-shaped crackers that have a lot more flavor than matzoh (chalk it up to the additional sugar and oil) and they've been on — or near — my family's Passover table for as long as I can remember. And stocked in my parents' pantry throughout the year.

Matzah is a must on Passover, but there's no religious obligation to eat a Tam Tam. Representatives from the company that makes them, Manischewitz, didn't get back to me on the origin of the name, but I suspect it may have something to do with the Hebrew/Yiddish word "ta'am," meaning "taste" and by extension, "tasty."

This year, Tam Tams are short supply, and as part of research for our segment on the crisis, I did some calling around. One store deep in Brooklyn said they had the whole-wheat version in stock (I've tried those in the past and decided they weren't worth the trip). Then a guy at an Upper West Side kosher grocery said he had several flavors, so I ran up there to buy out his stock.

It was too good to be true. Kosher-for-Passover crackers? Yes. But not Tam Tam brand. Not the familiar, yellowish hexagons. I went to a nearby D'Agostino's grocery store. There was a whole endcap of Passover-compliant goods. Minus the Tams Tams.

The typical saying at the end of the Passover meal is "Next year in Jerusalem."

Now, there's something else to look forward to in the year to come.



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Laura, I feel for your "burnt food, burnt dreams" pitch on yesterday's show. Here's another museum that seems like it might be right up your alley.

The Museum of Broken Relationships

Sent by Michelle L | 11:57 AM | 4-8-2008

"Easter without Peeps"? Really??? I'm not sure those really embody Easter cuisine for me...

The only thing those confectionery abominations are good for is microwave experimentation!

Sent by kim | 3:49 PM | 4-8-2008

Ok, this piece has got me remembering the spread my college used to put out with the matzos during Passover. I've got no idea what it's called, but it had apples, honey and nuts in it. Can anyone tell me what that is and how to make it? It is soooo yummy on matzos!

Sent by Xana | 5:14 PM | 4-8-2008

This reminds me of the Great Brisket Shortage of 2001.

Sent by Diantha | 7:00 PM | 4-8-2008

Xana, the stuff you're talking about is called charoses -- it's a mix of chopped apples, walnuts and wine. Here's a basic recipe:

Other variations call for dates or figs, but they've all got one thing in common: Charoses represents the mortar that Jews were forced to use as slaves in Egypt. Thankfully, it tastes much better.

Sent by Laura | 8:00 AM | 4-9-2008

Thanks, Laura!

Sent by Nix | 2:46 PM | 4-10-2008

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