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
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.
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?