Matzah, Matzahman

“Everyone wanted to clone our mother, which is why wecreated our Dancing Matzahman, said Davida Lampkin-Tydings. Actually, thesinging, swaying doll — voted best new Passover item at the 2003 Kosherfest –looks like a male chef wearing matzah print. But press his foot, and the plushfigure raps in the voice of Lampkin-Tydings’ mother, Pauline S. Lampkin, whosephoto is on the tag. The tag also credits Lampkin as the “vocalist”: “I becamea rapper at 94,” she said, looking impeccable in a blue velvet pants suit.

Her matzah doll, which  is available at Ralphs and Judaicashops, is the latest matzah mania product by Lampkin-Tydings’ company, DavidaAprons & Logo Programs Inc., which specializes in “kitchen kitch.” Thedoll’s song is composed by Jewish musician Craig Taubman.

But long before Matzahman, the elderly Lampkin was making animpression. At trade shows, she stood out as Davida Aprons’ indefatigablebookkeeper: “People call her the ‘human calculator,’ because she still does allthe figures in her head,” her daughter said.

Mom continued manning the company’s Huntington Park office,even while battling cancer in the 1990s. She’s one of the oldest people ever tohave completed AIDS Walk Los Angeles. And she regularly participates whenDavida and her sister, Sybil Lampkin-Rubin, brainstorm new Passover products,for example, an award-winning matzah ball timer.

“But at trade shows, people would always say, ‘We love yourmother. Can we buy her?'” Lampkin-Tydings said.

That question started the matzah doll rolling. Yet one couldvery well wonder: If Matzahman is inspired by Lampkin, why is he male? Thereason, according to Lampkin-Tydings, was that the doll was originally supposedto sing a parody of the Village People song, “Macho Man”; by the time shediscovered the royalties would be prohibitive the figure was already designedas male.

“So we decided to make him my boyfriend instead, ” Lampkinsaid.

Now her daughters are designing a new line of products thatwill feature mom’s photo, including a mug, a menu chalkboard and, of course,something Passovery.  “You know that elderly woman who used to say, ‘Where’sthe beef?'” Lampkin-Tydings said. “Mom could say, ‘Who’s hiding the matzah?'”

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