Well, the world has come a long way since my husband’s Great-grandmother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 100 years ago (or thereabouts, I don’t now the exact date). In those days the only way to go gluten free was to simply stop eating breads, cookies, cakes, or anything that was made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt, or faro. In some ways it was easy: just cut out everything that’s not meat, fruit, or vegetable. That also sounds pretty healthy. But in a way it was no doubt harder: cutting out everything that’s not meat, fruit, or vegetable. See what I mean?
But with the introduction of modern food science and a public who refuses to be denied anything even if they aren’t supposed to eat it for health reasons we have reached a point where we can find gluten free substitutions for anything and everything. Or so I thought until Passover was fast approaching and I realized I had no idea how to make our beloved matzo ball soup gluten free.
The kids and I were visiting with my parents in March and I had made a trek to the Whole Foods near their house to prepare The Boy’s birthday cake. Rushing through the aisles I passed their Passover display and lo and behold there was a box of gluten free matzo made by none other than the Yehuda company in Israel. Hope.
I bought a box and it was devoured in about a day. It’s made from potato starch and potato flour instead of wheat flour and it contains a few extra ingredients than the traditional wheat and water that’s in regular matzo. It’s lighter, more brittle, a little bit sweet, but all in all it’s a surprisingly good substitute. When we got home I searched high and low for it and then started to despair. I was going to have to order it online and hope it could make it here without shattering into a million pieces.
After doing some quick research online and learning that matzo meal is just crushed matzo crackers my fear of it arriving in a million pieces diminished. Now I had to fear whether or not they could get it to me in time. I ordered it on the Monday before Passover and was told it would take 2-6 business days… and it arrived three days later. Plenty of time to make my matzo meal and make the soup. Whew!
I’ll be honest, the soup wasn’t exactly the same. The texture of the matzo balls was different than it usually is… fluffier and at the same time it was a bit chewy with some bounce back to it when chewed. But it tasted good. Heck the non-gluten intolerant child who loves matzo ball soup ate three bowls and claimed the single serving of leftovers for lunch the next day. Another gluten free success if I do say so myself!