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Saturday, November 22, 2014

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Gefilte fish, Part 3

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Can a humble, ethnic food like gefilte fish become trendy? Cool?

I started to wonder when I saw Gefilte Fish recipes pop up on sites such as Martha Stewart’s. In fairness, her recipe was provided by the doyenne of Jewish American cuisine, Joan Nathan. [http://bit.ly/gefilte16] Not to be outdone, the Williams-Sonoma site has a recipe from Michael Solomonov. [http://bit.ly/gefilte17]

Which of these do not belong: Atkins, South Beach, Zone, gefilte? Trick question. They all belong. Can gefilte fish be any trendier now that it has its very own fad diet? It worked for Julian Singer: “Weighing in at a whopping 165 pounds, I decidedly needed to lose about five to seven pounds. After three months eating gefilte fish about three to four times a week at one of my meals – usually for dinner – I was able to shed eight pounds and keep it off.” [http://bit.ly/gefilte22]

And if you want to sample a different gefilte fish recipe each day for two months, here’s how. The RCFJ Recipe Archive has the classics, plus Leslie’s Mexican Gefilte Fish, Marian Burros’s Gefilte Fish Loaf and Maryland Spicy Gefilte Fish. [http://bit.ly/gefilte23] At the Jewish-food Gefilte Fish Archives, there’s Dilled Salmon, Chilled Terrine and about 40 others. [http://bit.ly/gefilte24]

Here are two suggestion for people who love the idea of eating gefilte fish: Vegetarian Gefilte Fish calls for eggs, onions, carrots, potato, matzoh meal but not a speck of fish. [http://bit.ly/gefilte25] And how’s this ersatz gefilte for fish-haters? It looks like the real deal but contains chicken instead of fish! [http://bit.ly/gefilte26]

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathtub… there’s a carp swimming in it. Shelly Kling-Yosef’s short film, “Gefilte Fish tells the story of a young woman torn between her prenuptial family tradition to kill and prepare gefilte fish versus her sympathy for the live carp swimming in her bathtub.” [http://bit.ly/gefilte18] Watch the 10-minute saga online. [http://bit.ly/gefilte19]

Speaking of videos, the Center for Jewish History brought together five culinary gurus to discuss whether the venerable Jewish dish can be adapted for palates that had long dismissed it. Join Israeli chef Omer Miller and representatives of the 2nd Ave. Deli, Kutsher’s Tribeca, and Brooklyn’s trendy Gefilteria for a lively 50-minute “Gefilte Talk.” [http://bit.ly/gefilte28]

And here’s an excerpt from the Gefilteria’s “manifesto”: “Gefilte is about reclaiming our time-honoured foods and caring how they taste and how they’re sourced. It is about serving a dish with pride, and not simply out of deference to hollow convention… We of the Gefilteria plan to bring our foods out of the jar and back to the street, to the pushcarts where we began, to the flavours of the people.” [http://bit.ly/gefilte21]

A few years ago, the Israeli post office probably did more to get gefilte fish into the mouths of thousands of people than a generation of bubbies. It immortalized the food on a postage stamp with the words “Gefilte fish” written in English, Yiddish and Arabic. The stamp depicts five pieces of fish crowned with carrot slices (along with the ingredients listed below the perforation!) Standing on guard in the top right corner of the stamp, the humble fish grinder. [http://bit.ly/gefilte27]

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