The History of Matzo and Where You Can Find the Best Matzo Ball Soup in LA (Here!)

Every food has a history, but not many foods have a history as storied as Matzo Ball Soup. It’s a tale that precedes even the Bible; one that is told every year in traditional Jewish homes at Passover

When Moses led the Jews from the oppression of Egypt, the Jewish people had no time to pack food or other provisions. Instead of the bread they were used to, all the Jewish people had to eat was an unleavened mixture of flour and water that turned flat when left out in the sun to bake. Out of respect for the trials of their ancestors, contemporary Jewish people forgo all leavened forms of bread during Passover. The only bread allowed them is matzo—the same unleavened flour and water bread eaten by the fleeing Jews of the Old Testament.

As a traditional aspect of yearly religious celebration, matzo is known by all practicing Jews, but it wasn’t until the 1838 introduction of the automated matzo-making machine that matzo transformed from the lumpy, bumpy bread produced by mothers and grandmothers into the consistent rectangle shape that many Jews and gentiles alike are used to today.

Every Food Has A History, But Not Many Foods Have A History As Storied As Matzo Ball Soup

In 1888, the Manischewitz Company burst onto the automated matzo production scene—and the rest is history. To this day Manischewitz is the most popular brand of matzo in the world. Though many in the Jewish community initially rallied against the automated creation of matzo, producing the bread in factories allowed poor access that they didn’t have before, and after the owner of Manischewitz traveled to Jerusalem to study the Talmud for 13 years, the Jewish community eventually embraced the brand.

Previously only available during Passover and made from scratch by your mother or grandmother, now matzo is available in grocery stores everywhere, year round, and eaten not just by practicing Jews, but anyone with a taste for the crisp, unleavened bread.

Matzo balls are made by grinding matzo down to meal and mixing the product with eggs, water, and a fat such as oil or chicken fat. When in ball form, the bread is traditionally served in chicken broth, and matzo ball soup is just as much a part of Passover as conventional matzo.

At Label’s Table we know the history of matzo and matzo balls, and serve Los Angeles’ best matzo ball soup on every day of the week.

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