As I was preparing for my Hanukkah event on campus last winter, I discovered the key to a delicious better-than-your-bubbe’s matzo ball soup. The secret ingredient, you ask?
One heaping cup of “OY VEY!”
My event, which I titled Dreidel Wars and Matzo Balls, was centered around serving up steamy bowls of matzo ball soup to students during finals week. After all, is there anything more comforting than a hot bowl of soup (and especially in a time of such high stress)?
In order for me to obtain a mass quantity of matzo ball soup, however, I would have to either pay a considerable amount of money to a local caterer (although the school was funding this event, I was given only a limited amount of money to work with) or…
I could always make it myself.
Now, there was one significant road-bump in this plan: I can’t cook. In my mind, there was no way I could cook tasty matzo ball soup without messing up somewhere down the line.
BINGO! Fortunately, a fellow peer of mine had graduated from an intensive cooking program in high school, so I pleaded for her help.
I was set.
The day of the event, I had gathered all of the ingredients needed to make matzo ball soup and we met in a seemingly abandoned dormitory kitchen.
We filled up a gigantic pot (which my mother had lent me) with water, placed it on the stove, and started forming matzo balls with our hands. After dropping at least fifty matzo balls in the now boiling hot water, I was unexpectedly hit with some horrible news:
“I have to run to a meeting,” she said.
At this point, the soup was already on the stove and smelled wonderful. I dropped another twenty or so matzo balls from our already made mixture into the soup.
Despite now being alone, I was feeling confident and excited for my event… until I decided to give the matzo balls a taste.
They were hard as rock. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if these matzo balls were harder than some types of rocks. Great.
My event was surely ruined. Matzo ball soup was supposed to be the main attraction. Now what?
I decided to scoop all of the rock-hard matzo balls out of the water and toss them in the garbage. I then added half a carton of consomme, four bags of egg noodles, and a whole lot of baby talk to my soup, praying that it would at least be edible.
I carried the pot over to my event, and made sure students knew that they were not obligated to try the soup by any means.
The end result of my event: a completely empty pot and endless appreciation.
Students came back for seconds.
I have absolutely no idea how or why my soup turned out to be such an incredible hit with students, but I can say that God was with me that day in helping to bring a taste of Judaism to my school…
even if my matzo ball soup didn’t have any matzo balls.