Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sustainable Saturday - You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Like Matzoh Ball Soup

Years ago, there was an advertising campaign in the New York City area, where I grew up.

"You Don't Have to be Jewish To Love Levy's Real Jewish Rye". The campaign featured pictures of people belonging to various ethnic groups enjoying Levy's rye

(Sadly, the person who penned that slogan, Judy Protas, died last month, at the age of 91.  Another chunk of my childhood, gone.  But I digress.)

You know what?  You don't have to be Jewish to like matzoh ball soup, either.

In January, my mother in law had a radioactive implant for a week, and it was then removed.  She was recovering from the removal surgery two weeks ago.  (As reported yesterday, she most probably will not have to undergo any more treatment - hurrah!)

My mother in law has lived all her life in suburbs of New York City.

She didn't have much of an appetite, but soup appealed to her.  My spouse and I decided to treat her to a couple of her favorite soups.  One, Escarole/Italian Wedding Soup, I blogged about last Saturday.  The other soup is a favorite soup of this woman of the New York City metropolitan area whose mother and father were both born in Italy.

Real Jewish matzoh ball soup.

First, for those who did not grow up around matzohs, they are a thin, crispy flat bread, normally made from white flour.  Years ago, there were two basic types - plain, and egg.  The plain ones were made from flour and water, period. The egg matzohs were sometimes made with apple cider. The eggs made them softer, and they were intended for children and the infirm.

Nowadays, you can find matzohs made from spelt, from whole wheat flower, and matzohs flavored with garlic and onion.

Matzoh balls (also known as knaidels) are a soup dumpling made from ground matzoh meal, chicken fat (or oil) and eggs.  Some cooks add water - some cooks swear by seltzer.

But, since we couldn't find matzoh meal, we had to use matzoh ball mix.  I mixed it up per the directions and put it into the refrigerator to cool.

Meantime, my spouse prepared the soup from the bone broth/retort broth we had made earlier in the day.
We added the chilled matzoh ball mix to the broth, along with some fresh spinach and turkey meat (again, see last week's post).  Quickly, the matzoh balls puffed up.

It didn't take long, and my mother in law soon had some comforting soup to feast on.  My spouse talked to her yesterday, and she remarked on how much she loved eating the matzoh ball soup.  What could be a better subject for sustainable living than a good soup?

I wish I could send some soup out to my good friend in Brooklyn, who started a new, extensive chemo treatment yesterday.  She is a faithful reader of my blog.  My friend was actually hungry after yesterday's hours long session.  I think it would be fantastic if you could send her some good thoughts, good vibrations or even some virtual chicken soup. 

Do you have a favorite dish that does not come from your childhood ethnic cuisine?


  1. I love matzoh ball soup! It's a comfort food for me, but is my ethnic food. Interestingly enough, I also find Chinese hot and sour soup and Japanese miso ramen to be as comforting. Saw you on Ultimate Blog Challenge.

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I like a good Chinese hot and sour soup, also.

  2. Never had it but I am a huge fan of italian wedding soup, my italian background I guess. But I'm still a fan of lasagna. I know it's boring and everyone makes it, but nobody makes it like my italian grandmother. Yum!

    1. I would love to try your Italian grandmother's lasagna. I do not like restaurant lasagna at all. My spouse makes a nice one with - believe it or not - egg bows.

  3. How interesting! I've never tried matzoh ball soup. My non-ethnic fave is pasta of almost any kind. Glad your mother-in-law is doing better and will send positive thoughts and healing intentions to your friend!

    1. My non ethnic fave - New York City style pizza! Thank you so very much for the healing thoughts.

  4. I have never tried matzoh ball soup, but I am another who likes the Italian wedding soup!

  5. Oh yummm! I so want to try a spelt matzoh and matzoh soup!!!

  6. I'm sending a late burst of comfort to your sick friend. Soup is a wonderful comfort and yours sounds terrific. I must try matzoh balls. It sounds like a great way to use chicken fat, which we usually discard.
    And by the way, I'd love you to make use of my written piece about using underground shelters to grow shoots.

  7. This sounds like a hearty meal! -Delicious!

  8. A large part of my boyfriend's family is Jewish so I've been introduced to quite a bit of new cuisine in the past few years. And Matzoh ball soup is definitely near the top of the list! I've never tried to make it myself though. Guess I better give it a try :)


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