Since it's Hanukkah all this week -- Best Wishes to all who celebrate! -- I thought I'd tell you about the time I attempted to make matzo balls in Winnipeg about 35 years ago. MY WORST COOKING DISASTER EVER!
When I started university, I discovered the joy of eating matzo balls in chicken soup at a local Jewish deli which, alas, subsequently went out of business. (You can read my tribute to that beloved deli here, if you want). Anyway, being in serious matzo ball withdrawal, I decided to try making my own.
How hard could it BE? (said the Anglo-Saxon Gentile)
So I purchased a package of matzo ball mix from the grocery store and read the VERY minimalistic "how to" instructions on the back. I mixed the matzo meal with some oil and eggs as directed and brought my biggest pot of water to a boil. Then I formed the dough into balls.
Hmm, how BIG should I make them? The package provided no insight. Since the large matzo balls I'd eaten at the deli were about the size of the ones in the above photo, I made six similarly large matzo balls and put them all in the pot of boiling water.
Now, this is where being a Shiksa proved to be my undoing. I was, in fact, ignorant of a KEY PIECE of cultural knowledge. I'd never actually SEEN anyone make matzo balls before, of course. So HOW was I supposed to know that they SWELL UP LIKE A SONOVABITCH during the cooking process?
My back was to the stove when I heard this odd glub, glub, glub sound. I'll remember that sound as long as I live. It haunts me to this day.
"Slowly I turned . . ."
. . . and saw ONE HUGE, FUSED-TOGETHER, POSITIVELY MUTANT MATZO BALL in the process of RISING UP, UP, UP out of the pot and SPILLING OVER the sides!
Sort of like this, ONLY WORSE --
What an unholy MESS it made! I cleaned matzo dough off my stove for DAYS afterwards.
And on top of everything else, I STILL had no matzo balls for my soup! It just added insult to injury.