For newlyweds, I assemble a baker’s dozen favorites from my syndicated columns and out-of-print cookbooks as the start of their recipe collection. For one of my nephews, I wanted to include his grandmother’s potted meatball recipe. I had taken notes watching her make those famous sweet & sour meatballs. I did make them once from those cryptic notes yet never “kitchen-tested” a written version.

Having warned him of such, my insides smiled when he wrote to me after making them, “Nostalgia on a plate.” (Meatball photo by my nephew.)

Hilda’s Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

“I’m writing this recipe from notes I had from talking to your grandmother as I wanted to include this in your recipe collection.”

½ cup lemon juice (she used the reconstituted refrigerated variety; I suggest fresh**.)
1 cup sugar
16-ounce can tomato sauce
2 onions (1 medium for meatballs; 1 large diced for sauce; the latter is optional)
2 pounds chopped [ground] meat (From what I recall, she used half ground veal, half beef)
2/3 cup matzo meal
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the lemon juice, sugar, tomato sauce and onion (if using) in a medium-sized saucepan.
Combine the meat, matzo meal, eggs, water, salt and pepper. Grate the onion into the mixture. (She rubbed it against a mesh grater right into the bowl.) Form into small balls; add to the sauce, then simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serve meatballs in a puddle of the sauce along with challah or brioche for sopping.

**Getting the most from a lemon, first roll it on your countertop pressing down as you do so. This will break some of the membranes. Then, microwave it for 20 seconds. You’ll get 1/4 cup fresh juice from one medium-size lemon!