Granny Ella’s Meatballs
Posted in: Uncategorized
Recently, the Jew and the Carrot blog asked me to contribute a little story about shabbat food in my house. I could only think of one thing, Granny Ella Sax’s sweet and sour meatballs. Here’s a teaser for the story, found at Jcarrot, which is now the food blog of the Forward.
Unlike most of my friends, my parents didn’t inherit a lot of Jewish food traditions from my grandparents. My mother’s family had been in Canada for so many generations that they ate like WASPs. She grew up with roast beef dinners washed down with a glass of milk, and her mother’s cooking, which I experienced on visits to Montreal, was more a source of comedy than comfort.
Grandma cooked from a lot of cans and powders, which came out of a deep pantry that seemed to be restocked every two decades. She was capable of making a mean roast beef, it’s true, but a stern frugality flavored everything in that Formica kitchen. Her favorite dishes to prepare were “concoctions”, essentially experiments with leftovers. Some — the vanilla iced cream she melted, mixed with crushed red and white swirly mints liberated from restaurants, and refrozen — had their charms. Others, like the casseroles of no discernable origin, had my father sneaking out to Snowdon Delicatessen after dinner, to cleanse his palate with salted meats.
His mother, though more closely linked to her Yiddish heritage, had a few dishes that were legendary in the family. In tribute to her, one of these became our Shabbat staple: Granny Ella’s sweet and sour meatballs. These were golf ball sized orbs of soft, tender meat, simmered slowly in a sweetened tomato sauce. When Granny made them, the meatballs were consistently round and juicy, and the sauce was bright and sweet, with a lingering garlic spice.
Return to: Granny Ella’s Meatballs