Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Not Your Mamas Matzo Ball Soup

But it is my mama's matzo ball soup...now.

In a drastic step forward, this week, my mother changed over from traditional matzo ball soup to matzo balls in vegan broth for the sabbath. The two of us are dragging the rest of the family kicking and screaming into a 21st century, where we're no longer dependent on animals to live.

I'm Jewish and my family is rather traditional (I'm also the only vegetarian in a family of omnis). Every Friday night and Saturday afternoon, we all eat a meal together when my father and brother come home from synagogue. True to stereotype, we start dinner with matzo ball soup every week. Also true to stereotype, the matzo balls were always cooked in home made chicken stock.

Up until not that long ago, my attitude toward vegetarianism was "If I don't see it, it isn't there," which suited my mother just fine since she always removed all the chicken from the broth before serving the soup anyway. Needless to say, she was less than happy when I told her I'd no longer eat a soup that had touched chicken (or matzo balls that involved eggs) and I hated going soupless, but we both coped.

Then I brought home Vegan With a Vengeance and showed her the Matzo Ball Soup recipe. She was curious, but that was about it. She said something about not liking the idea of using so much oil to make the matzo balls and that was that.

Then (as I've mentioned enough times to make anyone reading this sick, I'm sure), I decided to break my Master Cleanse fast with VWAV's Golden Vegetable Broth, the recommended stock for the vegan Matzo Ball Soup. It all went down something like this:

Me: Spends what feels like eons chopping vegetables and working really hard to make my first soup. Finally finish it, taste it and completely spaz out at the awesomeness of it. Proceed to run around the house brandishing a ladle full of hot broth and shouting TASTE MY SOUP! IT'S SO AWESOME! EVERYONE HAS TO LOVE IT! THESE COOKBOOK PEOPLE ARE GENIUSES! I COULD MARRY THIS SOUP!

Mom: If it'll shut you up, I'll taste the soup. Does so. There's no chicken in this?

Me: Nope.

Mom: Just vegetables?

Me: Yup.

Mom: Then where does it get the flavor from?

Me: The vegetables.

Mom: Seriously?

Me: Yes. It uses lots of vegetables.

Mom: But it looks and tastes so much like mine!

Me: Yup!

Mom: But it doesn't use meat?

Me: Nope.

Mom: So it's healthier.

Me: Yup. Probably cheaper too.

Mom: Hm.

So she used up her remaining stock of chicken soup (I had a separate portion of the vegetable soup every week), went out and bought a metric assload of the vegetables required for the Golden Vegetable Broth (plus celery and turnip) and secretly replaced our traditional chicken soup with vegan broth!

The rest of the family liked it, but my father complained that chicken soup is the tradition, not vegetable broth. We told him to stuff it and my mother plans on using the vegan broth every week, now. She's still not making the vegan matzo balls, so I've been going without, but it's a start. And since she doesn't object to me making the vegan matzo balls for the family, I'm going to try to make them next week and see if I can't convert us over completely by the end of VeganMoFo.

(Funnily, my mother will never, ever give up her meat, but she's very proud of all the vegetables and things I cook and likes me to bring vegan food to our holiday family gatherings. She also loves to just talk about vegan food and actually sat down and read most of VWAV and VCTOTW. I think it makes her feel enlightened - and she enjoys how Isa and Terry write).


Kittee said...

wow! is she quitting on the eggs too? amazing!


rani said...

that is such a sweet story. i love that you've influenced your family in such a positive way and that your mom is embracing your choices!