The Food Family Tree


Many years ago my mother made me a binder with all of her favorite family recipes. It is the recipe BIBLE. Sure, I might look online, or in any one of the myriad cookbooks in the bookcase, but the two nondescript black binders (one for ‘food’, one for baking) are indispensable. There are recipes in my 9-year old handwriting that my mother saved, recipes from my grandmother (Mom Mom’s Nut Balls!), clippings from newspapers from at least 3 decades, and lots of additions that I’ve made over the years. They’re more than recipes; they are my family’s history through food.

Now my daughter is almost 23 and living on her own, and she wants a black notebook of her own. It will be both a look back as well as a fresh starting point. Already an accomplished cook, her recipes for avocado pasta and lentil curries will be added to the Dinner Go Round Chicken, Fudgy Brownies and Selma Sorkin’s Apple Cake. And I’ve decided that I’m going to take Empire Food and Brew in a slightly new direction. I’ve always posted my recipe creations here, but I’m going to start adding in some of the recipes from the family tree. A virtual black notebook to share the food and the memories that go with it.


The first recipe I’m posting is perfect for January, especially when it seems like everyone is getting sick. It’s a cousin to matzoh ball soup, sort of the lazy-man’s matzoh ball. To my knowledge, it’s unique to my family, and must have been handed down from my grandmother. It also features a quasi-yiddish word all our own…and we love it. When you’re tired, when you’re sick, when you just feel a little ‘feh’…there’s nothing like Floksy Soup. Why floksy? I have no idea. I like to think that it’s from one specific shtetl in Galicia  – and maybe I’ll meet a long-lost relative someday who’ll also know of floksies and their magical healing powers.

Floksy Soup

To boiling chicken soup add this mixture.

2 egg whites or 1 egg

About 1/2 cup matzo meal

salt, pepper

a little water – start with 2 tablespoons

Mix all together; it will be fairly stiff. If you want softer floksies add more water. Drop into boiling soup, lower heat, cover & cook about 20 minutes

A couple of things to note:

  • You must make the chicken soup first, or can use a store bought broth in a pinch. Cook some carrots until soft and mash them in to add some homemade goodness, and some dill. It will help.
  • Gently grab a little floksy dough in your fingers and drop into the water; they don’t get formed like a matzo ball. The floksies should be little fluffy matzo poofs in the soup.


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