Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Family Secrets

So as promised a post about Gefilte Fish. So for those of you who don't know, gefitle fish is a traditional Passover dish made from carp. It is served at just about every Sedar, but it is rarely made from scratch, because it is labor intense and smelly, but it tastes so much better when it is. My family has always made there own fish. My dad and my aunt tell stories about when the fish used to live in the bathtub for 3 days, before my nanny made it, and how they loved it because they didn't have to shower.

My first fish memory is from when I was about 5. My nanny (grandma) took me with her to buy the fish, back when you could pick the specific live fish you wanted (now you just say how many pounds you need). The fish were all swimming in the tank and my nanny picked the one she wanted. The fish monger put it on the counter, and wham, a hammer to it's head. They put it up on the scale to weigh it and it started flopping all over the place. The monger then chased it around the behind the counter area holding some kind of blunt object until finally... SMACK, and then it flopped no more. My nanny grabbed my arm, very hard and whispered in my ear, "that is how you know you have a good fish."

So, my aunt (pictured here with me, and we are both wearing very fashionable hand sewn (by my nanny) aprons) inherited this recipe, right and responsibility from her mother, and it extends back at least another generation still. And now, it is being passed on to me. My aunt has this giant binder of family recipes, hand written by her, my grandmother, and my great grandmother, with notes added each year about what worked, what didn't, etc. The binder is truly something to behold.

So now, fish making...

Let's start at the beginning. First you make a fish stock from the bones and head.

Then you grind the fish up in small batches, with some other ingredients (think fish meat balls)

Then you form the gefilte fish and you cook them in the stock.

Then you take the fish skin.

And cover the fish in the pot.

Now it's done cooking.


And that my friends, is how you get gefilte fish. Well cooking it, like eating it is certainly an acquired taste.

Happy Eating


1 comment:

  1. I've always wondered exactly WHAT Gefilte fish was. I've seen it in jars in the store & read about it, and even tasted it once. But I had no clue that it was basically fish meatballs! Thanks for the post it was very educational :) You have a great blog, keep up the good work! I found you on foodieblogroll.com :)


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