When Michael Jackson Loved Matzo Ball Soup.
Musicians’s food cravings are legendary. Elvis famously flew from Graceland to Denver for his favorite sandwich: An entire loaf of bread stuffed with a jar of peanut butter, another of jelly and a pound of bacon.
Michael Jackson never hopped on a plane for his cravings. He had his personal chef Akasha Richmond to whip up his favorites: Spicy enchiladas, fresh tortillas and matzo ball soup.
In the mid-90’s MJ was living in the penthouse of the Manhattan Trump tower, sharing a floor with Donald Trump. He was in town finishing up his epic HIStory album.
Richmond was living a few blocks south at what was then the glamorous Helmsley Palace (now the New York Palace), often picking up bagels on her short walk up to Jackson’s apartment.
COURTESY OF AKASHA RICHMONDMJ with Akasha Richmond and her daughter
“One day Michael asked for lox and bagel for breakfast,” Richmond told me. She was a bit surprised by the request but went with it. A few days later, he asked her to make matzo ball soup.
“What do you know from matzo ball soup?” Richmond recalls retorting. “I grew up with a Jewish nanny. I love matzo ball soup,” Jackson replied.
Richmond met Jackson back in the 1980’s when she was cooking at The Golden Temple, one of L.A.’s first vegetarian spots known for playing host to celebrities like Bob Dylan and Demi Moore.
“He used to come there everyday. He was really sweet and I used to take care of him,” Richmond recalls.
Soon she and another chef from The Golden Temple started cooking at Jackson’s house. “He would have these epic dinner parties. He loved old Hollywood so Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren might be there. You never knew who would come over,” she says.
Richmond never had a family matzo ball recipe so “I would make chicken stock and then follow the recipe on the package…and add a good pinch of cayenne pepper or minced jalapeño — he loved spicy food,” she said. “I used to joke that I was Michael’s Jewish mother. I was supposed to keep him healthy. When your on those tours it’s really grueling. I did whatever it took: matzo ball soup, green juice, chai tea.”
A decade or so later, Richmond left the tour life to spend more time with her daughter, but on the weekends she would trek out to Neverland Ranch to cook for Jackson. “My daughter had her bat mitzvah party on the ranch… It was about the best bat mitzvah you could have.”
Michael Jackson’s Favorite Matzo Ball Soup Recipe.
2½ quarts homemade chicken stock
1 leek, white part only, cleaned, and cut into thin matchsticks
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons seltzer water
2 tablespoons olive oil or chicken fat
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh chopped parsley and dill
Optional: A dash of cayenne pepper or minced jalepeno pepper
1) Add leeks and carrots to broth and simmer for 10 minutes (or until tender) and turn off heat.
2) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, olive oil, nutmeg, salt and black pepper (and spice, if adding). Fold in the matzo meal and seltzer water. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3) Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Wet your hands with cold water and form the matzo mixture into 12 balls. Drop the matzo balls into boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover tightly,
and cook for 30 minutes - don’t open the lid. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with the hot chicken stock and vegetables. Garnish with lots of chopped parsley and dill.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Source: Devra Ferst forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot