It took me 43 years to get over my fear of matzoh balls. Making them, that is, not eating them. I've eaten my fair share of the Jewish dumplings over the years -- in many homes, in many delis.
And one thing that my collective experience (both making and eating) has taught me is that a good matzoh ball is not hard to make, nor particularly hard to find.
Which is why my experience at a Phoenix deli this past Sunday was so horrifying.
Here's the secret to good matzoh balls, people, one my mother finally imparted in a weak moment this year, shortly before Passover:
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Use the mix. Manischewitz makes a perfectly good soup/ball mix -- you don't even need to add vegetables and chicken unless you want to. I made them a half dozen times before our seder and they came out perfect every time, even the time I had "sinkers" instead of "floaters".
The other advice she gave me was to run cold water over your hands before shaping the matzoh balls. That could not have saved the bomb of a ball I tried to bite into at Scott's Generations Deli. If it came from a mix, it was a bad batch, for sure.
I was shocked. Bagels, chopped liver, matzoh balls -- these are the holy triumverate of a good deli. (And this is a deli that's ranked high in the past, in New Times' book, I was reminded as I passed a row of "Best of" plaques on my way out.) I could tell even before I put the bite in my mouth that this ball was a dud, way too dense and dry. Tasteless to boot. The soup wasn't bad, but that's like saying the bun on the hamburger was delicious.
Scott, you've got some work to do on your balls.