Disclaimer: this blog is not meant to open up a can of worms on marriage or a faith; it’s purely intended to explain perspective and inspire authentic and meaningful meals.
When I was a kid, my favorite times were at the dinner table. It’s really what I remember the most. You see, I was raised in a divorced, half Protestant half Christian Scientist split household. Until the 9th grade, I lived with my mom, in a predominately conservative Irish-Catholic neighborhood, the only Swede for miles, wearing big pink glasses and argyle sweaters and penny loafers. At mom’s, there was always an interesting meal whipped up, lots of noise and laughter and a game. Dad lived a few states south, in a more flashy, affluent area, where Sassoon jeans, lip gloss and jetting off to Aspen for the weekend was no big thang. At dad’s, it was a big meal, followed by conversation, and some ice cream. In high school, we relocated to be closer to dad, and with the bigger town, exposed diversity and a mix of cultures. I learned that jews, catholics, protestants, christian scientists, born again and latter-day saints and even atheists could all pretty much hang out together. In fact, I always wanted to go to someone else’s house for dinner to see what it was like – no matter what faith they were or what heritage they came from.
Fast forward, I married an Italian Catholic and so you can imagine what our present day dinner table looks like; it’s loud, we are spirited, we play games, we laugh, we cry and we argue but…we always eat dinner together every night, try to squeeze in a family game and express our daily gratitude. Occasionally teeth clenched, arms flailing and food flying…but onto the Sunday Seder…
For some time now, I have admired the Jewish faith. I even sent my Catholic baptized kids to Jewish preschool when we lived in Pennsylvania. I know that sounds kind of funny but truthfully, it just felt like home. Everyone cared about my kids and it felt like the right place, right time. Plus, sometimes I feel like a Jewish grandmother (see source), especially when I over think, mastermind matchmaking, feel constant guilt, turn up my TV because I can’t hear. I also love the #13 and words like putz, schlep and schtick. Gilda Radner. Fiddler on the Roof. A strong self of identity. Community. And then there are bagels, cream cheese & lox. Bar Mitzvah’s. And Matzoh Ball Soup.
Last week a Jewish friend of mine had made Matzo Ball Chicken Noodle Soup and I had not one, but two bowls. I know I know…and I regretted it later, but I got caught up in the moment. It was so good that I decided I’d take a swat at it putting together my own Sunday Family Seder (abbreviated, Simple Table Style, Seder). I researched this and that, I even called a second Jewish source, consulted the meal and then simplified/condensed it into what my version might be:
Arugula, Iceburg & Basil Salad with pomegranates, beets & goat cheese with Dijon Dressing
Concord Grape (for the kids)
Chardonnay for the adults (ok, just me)I put a little video together to get you in the mood…
This was surprisingly easy; I saved beaucoup steps by buying Manischewitz Matzo Ball Mix, Bear Creek Chicken Noodle Soup Mix and a roasted chicken from the local market.
INGREDIENTS & STEPS
Matzo Ball Mix; just add eggs & oil, mix up, put in fridge for 15.
In meantime, heat up the soup mix with 4-6 cups of water; add in some celery & carrots (for additional flavor), stir in your roasted chicken and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove matzo ball mix from fridge and make meatball size (or smaller) matzo balls, then layer those into the soup and simmer for a good 30-40 minutes.
That’s literally it. I toasted up some Everything Bagels (the salt just oozes when you dip it into the soup) and served a nice salad of mixed Basil, Arugula & Iceburg topped with Pomegranates, diced Beets and Goat Cheese; I made a fresh batch of Dijon dressing to pour over top (dijon, water, olive oil, white vinegar, salt & pepper and whisk).
Set your table nice, pour some white wine for yourself and some concord grape juice for the kids, and make sure to go around the table, giving thanks for anything under the sun you can think of. No matter what faith, culture, race, color, gender, relationship or marital status or type A/B, alpha dog or quiet personality you are, you got this. To be blessed with a meaningful meal and some goodness is everything, wrapped up in a Sunday Supper.