>Stop making those retching noises! One of my favorite things about Jewish holidays is the opportunity to indulge in gefilte fish. I realize that I am the only person below the age of 50 who enjoys this delicacy, but that is because my generation generally was forced to eat gefilte fish from a can or jar. That is truly nasty, vile, and disgusting shit, and it has as much to do with gefilte fish as potted meat food product does with steak.

In truth, gefilte fish resembles pate more than an actual fish. It is a ball of ground up whitefish, carp, and/or pike, mixed with salt, pepper, and onions. The recipe deviates a bit depending on which part of Eastern European it is made. Some people add sugar, others add beets, and still others might throw in some ground carrots and parsnip. Whichever derivation is used, the resulting fish ball should be sweet, and not covered in gelatinous goop. (This is exactly where the foul canned or jarred fish goes very, very wrong.)

Back in the olden days, when I was a young girl growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, we spent all the Jewish holidays at my grandparents' apartment. My bubbe cooked for days on end to prepare the feasts. Since I was lucky and only was served homemade gefilte fish, I never understood why people thumbed their noses at the humble dish. Then I got out to New York and was served something from a jar. If someone was unfortunate enough to believe that this was what the dish was supposed to taste like, hatred of gefilte fish made total sense.

At my in-law's Passover dinner on Saturday, they served gefilte fish freshly made at the fish counter of the local grocery store. (At least I think that is where my mother-in-law said it came from; she may have said a Jewish deli.) It was moist, sweet, and free of gelatinous goop. Delicious!

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