Shiva, Matza Balls, and the Morpurgo Family

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Ghetto Entrance Bologna

A few months after my husband met his business partner, Silvano, who is originally from Venice, he told him about my family connection to Italy. Silvano’s eyes got big and he said, I think your wife and I might be related. After checking with his mother and an aunt, sure enough we are related by marriage.

Shift to six years later, and Silvano came and ate with Mr BT and me during the shiva of my mother-in-law. Silvano and I started talking about Italian Jewish holiday dishes and got to the subject of Pesach and matza balls. I told him that my family made unusual matza balls,  and I haven’t met a lot of people who are familiar with them. So, he asked how we made them. I explained we make them with whole matza and add nutmeg….. he looked at me and said very casually, “What is so special about those?! Those are the Morpugo matza balls and I haven’t met anyone else who makes them that way.” We both laughed and I paused for a minute. “Wait a minute.”, I said, “we are related on my paternal grandfather’s side of the family, but this recipe comes from my paternal grandmother’s side!”

He called me a few days later to say that he called one of his Morpugo aunts to tell her the story and she said, “Who needs a DNA test, the matching matza ball recipes confirm we are family!”

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Baroness Tapuzina

Michelle Nordell (aka Baroness Tapuzina) was a foodie from the womb growing up in the House of Weird Vegetables, so named by a family friend because all of the unusual and exotic food cooked and eaten there. She loves to change recipes using herbs from her garden and spices from the spice shops she enjoys visiting.

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