Friday, April 6, 2012

The Great Matzo Ball Debate

In the lore of great matzo balls, there are three truths:
  1. One is either born into a family that believes in light, fluffy matzo balls -- that float and soak up the goodness of the chicken soup they're cooked in; or dense, heavy 'dumpling' of a matzo balls that sink to the bottom of the pot they're cooked in.
  2. The light and fluffy floating matzo balls are superior.
  3. Those who try to contest point 2, are just wrong.

Alright, I'll admit. I'm slightly biased, but only because I believe my mother's matzo ball soup is the most supremely delicious soup I've ever tasted. Those who believed in "sinkers" have tried her soup and have changed their tune. 

I dare you to ask a group of Jewish women what the proper way to cook a matzo ball is. It's going to be a riot. Why? Fist, because most Jews are insanely passionate about their side of the floater/sinker debate. However, you may also receive strict instructions to "duct tape the lip of the pot on while the matzo balls are cooking", or to "not let anyone in the kitchen, because the mere presence of anyone but the chef de cuisine will cause the floating  balls to fall out of sync with the cosmos." You'll hear about whipped egg whites, cutting chicken fat with lemon juice, and even the trick of using club soda's carbonation to make the matzo balls light and airy. 

Whatever your preference is, (and I'd love to have a mini debate right on this forum), I'd like to wish all of my friends, family, and readers a very Happy Passover.


  1. A good friend of mine once made an intriguing case for the sinker side I feel compelled to share. Her mother made matzo balls dense and heavily spiced and with bits of the chicken cooked into them, essentially offering the entire soup into a condensed ball of "love and spice and deliciousness".

    My personal thoughts aside, I thought it was worth noting.

  2. My grandmother (may she rest in peace) used to make the matzo ball soup for all family dinners until she passed the torch to my wife. My grandmother's experience making light and floating matzo balls -- she had absolutely no use for the cannonball school -- will confirm what you have posted in this blog. She would insist on keeping the pot closed and she had a special ingredient in her matzo balls to keep them light: tears of angst. If she didn't worry about them, they didn't come out right.