Matzo Ball Soup

Just hearing those magical words awakens all of my senses and floods my brain with memories reminiscent of childhood, travels, family and comfort. How is that this really quite simple soup can conjure all of this up? We all know and have heard the actual science and data that supports that Matzo Ball Soup is actually good for a cold, and not just an old wise tale, fondly nicknamed “Jewish penicillin.” We also know that soup is an easily digestible nutrient packed food. But for me, a Jewish girl, Matzo Ball Soup is oh so much more!

A Magical Cure

Both my bubbies and my mom each have their own delicious recipe and versions of this golden magic liquid, as do many of the deli's and restaurants I have also had the pleasure of slurping down, but one thing they all have in common is they all bring me comfort. It has a heavenly aroma, the deep flavor of the chicken, and more subtle flavors of vegetables lurking behind it along with just the right saltiness. It’s placed in front of me with gentle steam rising from the bowl, and somehow all of this just seems to make everything ok.

Soup has always been a regular occurrence in my house. Every cold my brothers and I ever had was was always met head on with my mom's matzo ball soup for the cure. Snow days, holidays, trips to New York City or Boca Raton, yup you guessed it, there was Matzo Ball Soup. It could be zero degrees or 95 degrees, didn’t matter much to me. Now being so far from home, it is one of the things I miss the most. This is not to say that Bloomington does not have some terrific matzo ball soup that I regularly enjoy but sorry, doesn’t quite compare to my bubbie’s or mothers soup.

However, mom or Bubbie never disappoints, when I come home for school breaks, I can positively count on Matzo Ball Soup waiting for me. I guess it really is true, matzo ball soup is good for the soul.

With Passover upon us, Matzo Ball Soup is a staple that you will find around on the Sedar table. What exactly is Matzo ball soup? It’s the delicious magical chicken broth with the addition of fluffy delicate large round dumplings added to it. How did these dumplings come to be? Well, in a nutshell the story of Passover goes like this; The Jewish people had been enslaved in Egypt. After God punishes the mean Pharaoh in many ways, he finally decides to free the Jews. They were forced to make a swift exit with no time to prepare anything including letting their dough rise into puffy bread, and instead left with flat cracker like bread called matzah. Since then our tradition has set rules and recipes of what Jewish people can and cannot eat. These matzo balls evolved and were adapted from a traditional dumpling but were made with fat instead of butter to keep them kosher and matzo meal instead of flour to make them kosher for Passover, and somewhere in history, with a couple of name changes thrown in there, eventually became the beloved matzo ball. More important than it’s history, is it’s simply delicious taste enjoyed by people of all faiths. Whether you prefer floaters or sinkers, big or small balls, Matzo ball Soup is a tradition during Passover but eagerly eaten all year long.This a tradition that gets passed down from generation to generation and I look forward to one day taking the torch and making it for my family.