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Film Chronicles the End of an Era for a New York Matzo Factory

When Jewish families and friends gather at Passover tables next week, the ubiquitous accompaniment to their meal—appetizer, side dish, edible history lesson—will be matzo. The crispy cracker, often little more than flour and water, is meant to resemble the flat bread baked by ancient Jews in a hurry while escaping slavery from Egypt. The basic recipe has remained remarkably consistent over the years, as have many of the traditions surrounding it.

Case in point: the Streit’s matzo factory on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which churned out a large chunk of the nation's “bread of affliction” for the better part of a century. But as CityLab reports, while little changed inside the five-floor factory on Rivington Street, outside the neighborhood changed from immigrant haven to well-heeled late-night destination—not such a great place for a noisy factory and its delivery trucks. Last year, the factory was finally sold—for $31 million.

Just in time for Passover, filmmaker Michael Levine has released a documentary about the factory’s story: Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream. (“Leavened with history!” says the Wall Street Journal.) The film tells the tale of the factory from its opening in 1925 through its final days, using archival imagery and interviews with staff, plus plenty of hands-on matzo-making shots. The film opens in New York on April 20, followed by a release in other cities, and is accompanied by an exhibit at the Art on A gallery featuring historical Streit’s photos and machinery. You can watch a trailer for it above.

Fortunately, families who love Streit’s need not worry about their matzo supplies—the factory is reopening in Rockland County later this year, according to CityLab. 

[h/t CityLab]

Header image via Jonathunder via Wikipedia // GNU Free Documentation License

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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