Friday, September 25, 2009

Yet Another Reason to Avoid Gefilte Fish

I put gefilte fish in the same culinary category as organ meat, bone marrow, borscht, and schmaltz: Old World Poverty Desperation Eats (OWPDE, pronounced "barf"). All o' them were on the alta-bubbie's table because the old country - besides having 100% Frumkeit and miracle-making mystics - was dirt poor. Our collective Ashkenazic grandparents lived in third-world countries and were below the poverty line.

Gefilte Fish, case in point, was not invented because (as I think some NCSY clown told me) people couldn't take fish bones out on Shabbat, so a food was invented that ground up the fish, bones and all. This is fish-poo. You absolutely can take bones out of your fish on Shabbat; as a general rule of thumb, something that if you didn't do it would kill you, is always allowed. Put another way, the Old Country Rabbis may have been starving to the point of eating animal skin and bone interiors, but they also made it OK not to die by choking/tearing holes in your esophagus. Naturally, that means that they're not as frum as our food-stamp-grubbing frummies of today. So be it.

Gefilte Fish was created because by grinding up a fish, bones and all, and adding equal proportions of week-old challah, you were able to have one fish feed 5 people. Give a man an intact fish, and he can eat only 40%, give a man a ground up fish, and he eats 95% of it (maybe even the eyeballs? was that part of the recipe? yet another reason to skirt the gefilte).

Anyway, a recent story from UK Jewish Chronicle gives yet another reason to avoid the gefilte: sometimes a normal batch will glow in the dark.

Then again, I can actually see that as a plus.

[h/t VIN, pic from the orig. story]

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