I want to let you guys in on a little in-joke in my household: my husband is famously uncultured. As I’ve mentioned before, he is Canadian and every once in a while, he’ll come up with a real hum-dinger that lets everyone know it took him a good long while to leave his one-horse town. One April when we were still dating long-distance, I mentioned that I was excited to have some Matzo ball soup, to which he replied: “that sounds fancy and Italian”.
I have been in a near-constant state of face-palm ever since.
However, as I tend to get a little philosophical and think inwardly during these blogs (and somehow end up mentioning potatoes at least once a month), maybe his ignorance isn’t wholly unjustified. Matzo ball soup is kind of pigeon-holed, even in the Jewish community, as a Pesach/Passover food that is rarely consumed outside of those eight days.
Why is that? Matzo ball soup is almost universally adored by the people who try it (my uncultured husband included) and as far as fussy food is concerned, it’s certainly not as easy as, say, a spaghetti Bolognese, but it’s well below your average Beef Wellington. It would be like if apple pie was only ever eaten during lent or cheeseburgers were only consumed during the first week of July (side-bar, I’d be way okay with a Cheeseburger Week). These are delicious foods that are eaten in mass quantities every day – and not just in my house. So how come we all pretty much have amnesia regarding Matzo ball soup until Pesach rolls around again?
What is Matzo?
For those of you who don’t know, Matzo is essentially a flat, wafer-like bread. It is a staple of Jewish cuisine, especially around Pesach because when the Jews fled persecution in ancient Egypt, they subsisted on unleavened (flat) bread. Tradition and history are central parts of Jewish culture, and food makes up a significant portion of that, as I’ve mentioned previously. However, just because it’s important to eat a specific food on a specific day of the year doesn’t mean it can’t be spread around.
Matzo Ball Soup All Year
I say we bring Matzo ball soup back in a big way. Let’s make it available year-round and make preparing matzo balls as ubiquitous and commonplace as making meatballs. As a matter of fact, I’m all for spreading the love for the other pigeon-holed foods that crop up in our culture. Why should pumpkin pie be reserved for October? Don’t we deserve some turkey stuffing in June and July instead of just on Christmas Day? Why is it normal for me to gorge myself on chocolate from a heart-shaped box on Valentine’s Day, but if I do it two months later, I’m the weird one in the break room?
Now that Pesach is over a month past, I’ve got around 11 more months to wait until it’s culturally appropriate to eat my beloved Matzo ball soup again – but I’m done with the excuses! It’s the 21st century and traditional foods should have the freedom to be consumed whenever you want! I’m going to make some Matzo ball soup this weekend, and I hope you join me in flouting these unspoken rules. Go ahead and eat a candy-cane in May, my friends.
SoulSkorpion, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons