I just finished my Passover shopping at Fairway and I feel very Farklempt.
Preparing for Passover brings up a multitude of feelings and like most daughters, the holiday is deeply tied in with my mother. With the loss of my beloved mother who passed away the day before Passover several years ago, the holiday takes on a bittersweet quality.
Today while doing my annual shopping at Fairway Market for my seder, my mother was on my mind. As I browsed the rows of matzo meal I suddenly felt lost. Which was the brand that my mother always used? Horowitz Bros.& Margareten, or Manishevitz? Maybe Streits was the secret.
My mothers matzoh balls which were legendary in their melt-in-your-mouth lightness and fluffiness. Her balls were always Boombeh (huge) and never Shtickels (little pieces).
The matzoh ball recipe, handed down from my Great-Grandma Posner was closely guarded, so top-secret, no one but Mom had access to the highly classified information.
Her recipe was highly coveted- the manner in which she got her batter to reach those heavenly heights was strictly confidential. All the women of B’nai Brith begged her, and the Hadassah ladies tried to hondlen with her. Neighbors nagged and friends became frosty when she refused.
She was used to the sidelong glances from the gals of Sisterhood who scrutinized and analyzed trying to break the code for the sacred recipe.
Did she use Cotts Club Soda, or stiffly beaten egg whites, oil or schmaltz or, God-Forbid-butter? No matter how hard others tried to cajole, coerce, and extract the information, their lips were sealed.
Now I had access to the recipe but I couldn’t recall the proper brand.
A Chance Encounter
Another woman at Fairway browsing the shelves seemed to be struggling with the same dilemma. What brand had her mother used? We debated the issue like Talmudic scholars, but the longing for our mothers advise was palpable. We both so despertly wanted to call our Moms.
We laughed and comforted one another, ending with a tearful hug.
My tears were made that more powerful because placed right next to these items were the stacks of yartzeit candles ( memorial candles) which have now become as necessary to Passover as fresh horseradish and Gefilte Fish.
But even more meaningful was the music playing over the loudspeaker as all this was going on. It was the soulful Hawaaiian rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” the very song sung at my mother’s funeral by my dear friend Jason with his angelic voice and Hawaiian ukelee.
It seemed a signal from my mother. She was still there to guide me through holiday preparation.
I picked up the box of Streit’s with a renewed confidence but very teary eyes.
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific