In both of my cultures, when a friend or family member is having a challenging time, the most common way we support them is to provide a meal. It makes sense, considering we all need to eat three times a day. Yet, when you're struggling, and especially when you are grieving, it's hard to make basic decisions like what to eat.
Though bone broth might seem like a passing trend, it's been a tradition in most food cultures across the globe for centuries; and for good reason. Bone broth is known to fight inflammation, boosts immunity, aids in digestion, is hydrating and is so nourishing that it's been known to improve mood. When the body is grieving and in a state of crisis, bone broth can offer immense physical support. Our guts have more neurotransmitters than our spinal cords, so sipping on nourishing bone broth can be immensely healing for our nervous systems.
You can have bone broth delivered to a grieving friend, or deliver a special batch of this extra-healing, one-bowl-meal, matzo ball soup to them. I've swapped out matzoh meal for a combination of almond and quinoa meal, to make it even more nutritious and healing:
For the Matzo Balls:
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
3 tablespoons broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or chicken fat
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
For the Soup:
4 cups chicken bone broth (I make my own and like this recipe. You can also purchase ready-made broths at health food stores)
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/2 bunch hardy leafy greens, chopped (I used kale)
1 cup shredded chicken
2 tablespoons dill, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chives, roughly chopped
Mix matzoh ball ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Cover and place in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Bring 8 cups of well-salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Turn the heat to low once it boils. Wet hands with water and form matzoh balls, rolling them loosely into balls that are about 1.5" in diameter. Gently drop them into the simmering water one by one (a spoon is helpful). Cover the pot and cook them for 15 minutes.
When the timer for the matzoh balls go off, reset it to 15 more minutes and bring the bone broth to a simmer. Slide in the sliced carrots and parsnips and cook for about 10 minutes on low heat or until cooked. Just before serving, add shredded chicken and kale.
In Tupperware containers or large mason jars, ladle out some matzoh balls, pour broth with carrot and parsnips over them. Wrap chopped herbs separately. Place everything in a bag with instructions for heating (heat everything on low, add herbs and enjoy) and an affirming note telling them not to worry about getting anything back to me. I usually pack the soup in containers and bags I don't mind giving away. Usually, my friend has so much to worry about as it is, I don't want them to worry about getting a Tupperware container back to me.
When delivering food to a friend, I check first to find out any dietary needs before I start cooking. Then, I say "Hey xx, I've been thinking about you. Would it be helpful if I brought over some bone broth matzoh ball soup? I'd love to see you but also completely understand if a drive by would be best right now. Let me know! xoxo"