My mother made the best chicken soup. Everyone said so. Even her mother-in-law who never enjoyed anything she prepared loved my mother's chicken soup.
Her matzoh balls were light and fluffy but with just the right amount of density in the very center. She’d sauté the leftovers with onions for my dad who loved anything smothered with onions.
I never had any interest in knowing what went on her kitchen especially since if I came near her while she was cooking or baking, she’d have me clean up and that wasn’t any fun at all.
But somehow, I realized the importance of knowing how to make that chicken soup just like she did. So I watched her. And I wrote down all the ingredients and when they should be added and how much of each because my mom wasn’t good at the actual measurements.
My parents were snowbirds; flying back and forth when it was warm in New York and Florida. Sometimes they made it back to Long Island for Passover, depending on when the holiday fell.
One year, they were home for the holiday at our house. I made her chicken soup as I always do for our Seder.
Concentrating, she took a sip or two. She declared it was better than her own.
In the kitchen now, as I prepare her soup for Passover; clean the Kosher chickens, add the proper amount of salt, place the parsnips, turnips, carrots, and celery in the pot at the precise moment, set the bunch of dill towards the very end - she is with me.
Ever critical of me, it is only encouragement I feel as I make her soup.
Her voice hums in my heart praising my soup; I am always aware of the power of how she passed the torch all those years ago, thankful for her gift of teaching me how.