It’s Passover season and time for my annual rant. Disclaimer: I grew up getting all new clothes for Easter Sunday and I’d trade my Easter basket peeps for licorice jellybeans. I married into a Sephardic Jewish family and over the years I’ve learned how to make a Seder dinner. And I’ve mastered how to make matzoth balls, but these are itsy bitsy little tiny matzoth balls, and you need hundreds of them. These Sephardic style matzoth balls have walnuts in them and are served in a walnut broth, which makes for a tasty soup. This year I got some weird matzoth meal that was pre-salted and after rolling the first 500 hundred balls, I tasted one….pure salt! The whole batch had be tossed and I had to start over. What are another 500 balls when your family is coming over for dinner?
Then there are the ‘prassa’ or leek meatballs. The original recipe I was given, from my precious Sephardic Passover cookbook that has notes in my mother-in-law's handwriting and now in my handwriting, calls for the leeks to be cooked 3 different times. First you boil them, then you fry them, and then you bake them. Any leek flavor or nutrient was eliminated somewhere between step 1 and 2.
The only dish made quickly is the haroseth, which is a combination of raisins, apple, walnuts and wine. Which brings me to the point of my rant, what’s up with having to eat matzoth? The significance of matzoth is that the Jews were being exiled from Egypt and there wasn’t time for the bread to rise so the Jews invented unleavened matzoth. With all due respect, I could have made 12 loaves of bread in the time it took to make these Passover dishes and to clean up the mountain of pots and pans required. It’s a good thing I love tradition and my family so Happy Pesach to one and all.
1. Old Jewish Proverb…Taste first matzoh ball…and may all your balls be fine.
2. So, have a drink already.
Still looking for that sephardic man so I can eat kitniot on Passover. I just let my mother make matzah balls! – Zahavah