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Ophelia was sitting in her living room reading a newspaper when someone knocked at her door. She got up, peeked through the curtain, and then opened the door. It was her friend, Sandy, laden with packages.

Ophelia took some packages from Sandy and carried them into the kitchen. Sandy followed. It was that time of year, Passover when Sandy brought everything that should not be in her house during Passover to her gentile friend, Ophelia.

Ophelia and Sandy had been friends for years. Not only had they gone through elementary school and high school together, they had also attended the same state university together.

Neither came from a wealthy family, but the tuition at the state university was something their families could afford with the help of scholarships, and Ophelia and Sandy working during the summer. After college, both young women married “home boys,” which meant that they continued to live in the same town.

They were like sisters who just differed in their religious affiliation. Every year, Ophelia helped Sandy make her house spic-and-span for Passover, and every year Sandy brought Ophelia the food not allowed in her house during Passover.

Sandy sat at Ophelia’s kitchen table while Ophelia put away the food Sandy had brought. The two women joked with each other, as they did every year at this time. Sandy told Ophelia that Ophelia should pay her for the groceries, and Ophelia told Sandy that she would when Sandy paid her for cleaning her house. After laughing at their tired joke and catching up on the latest gossip, Sandy said she had to leave.

Ophelia asked, “Where’s the matzo meal you said you were going to bring me?”

“Oh, Ophelia,” Sandy moaned. “I forgot. I’ll bring it over tomorrow.”

“Tsk! What are we going to do with you?” Ophelia said, shaking her head from side to side. “Can you remember the recipe for the matzo ball soup you make?”

“Yes, I can, Miss Smarty,” Sandy said, sticking her tongue out at Ophelia. “Get a piece of paper and write it down.”

Recipe for Matzo Ball Soup (*online recipe)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 T melted butter or margarine

1/2 C matzo meal

1 t chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 t salt

1 dash white pepper

1 T water

6 C chicken broth

1 medium carrot, cut into 2-inch julienne strips

In a small bowl, mix eggs with the melted butter or margarine. Stir in matzo meal, parsley, salt, pepper and water to form a soft dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Bring chicken broth and carrots to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to a simmer. Shape the matzo dough into 12 balls. (For easier shaping, dip hands in cold water from time to time). Drop the matzo balls into the simmering broth. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.

“Thanks,” Ophelia said. “This better be right. Now don’t forget to bring me the matzo meal tomorrow, or I’ll come over to your house during the holidays when your guests are there and take some of yours.”

Sandy laughed, “The last thing I need is some greedy woman coming over to my house and stealing the food I need.”

Sandy stood up and walked toward the door. Ophelia followed.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Sandy said as she opened the door, “Let me know if I can help you do anything in preparation for Easter.”

“Remembering my matzo meal will be a good start,” Ophelia said laughingly. They hugged each other goodbye.

Happy Passover. Happy Easter.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...