Food for Thought – Pesach
On a cold winter evening in February, around 30 people joined hosts Sheva & Alex at their home for sampling and sharing the essence of Passover Cooking. Members brought their own Pesach recipes of haroset, cakes and even Matzah. There were hands on demonstrations of different methods of Matzah Ball (Kneydlach) making (see below for details). Mixed in with the cooking demonstrations was time set aside for talking about why the current Passover dietary restrictions may have come about and the personal attractions of this unique festival to the group. Similar sessions are planned every few months.
Hard or soft Matzah-Balls?
There are at least two main recipes for Matzah Balls. One was recorded by Jennie Grossinger who is associated with an American Jewish restaurant chain. She uses: 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons melted chicken fat, a third of a cup of cold water, one teaspoon of salt, and one cup of matzah meal. The second recipe comes from “Cooking the Polish Jewish Way” by Eugeniusz Wirkowski. He uses: 200 gram matzah, 5 eggs, a little salad oil and salt to taste. The first recipe will give you the kind of matzah balls that have the texture of squash balls. The second will give you the matzah balls that are feather-light and fluffy. Why the difference? One is a recipe of the colder climates where chickens had to be killed when winter came, because they could not survive in the bitter cold. A few survived in the stables for horses and cattle that were warm. The second recipe belonged to the warmer climate, where eggs were plentiful right throughout the year.
A little advice for people used to one recipe and who are visitors at a Seder where the other recipe is used. Please understand that the difference is not because the cook is ignorant of Jewish cuisine, but rather that there are different ways to be Jewish.