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What Is in Gefilte Fish?

Get to Know Gefilte Fish

Despite my love of Jewish food, I must confess I've never held a deep understanding of gefilte fish. Growing up, I'd stare at jars of those cloudy, floating Manischewitz members with a mixture of intrigue and disgust. What, exactly, was gefilte fish? I wondered. Did people actually eat that?

Now that I have the palate of an adult, I'm no longer disgusted, but as someone who's never tried gefilte fish, I remain intrigued. Gefilte is actually Yiddish for "stuffed," and this dish is really just white fish that's been chopped, seasoned with carrots, onions, and eggs, stuffed back into the skin of a fish, poached, then served chilled. Find out the story behind its creation when you read more.

It's customary in the Jewish tradition to begin Sabbath and holiday meals with a fish dish. But the ground, stuffed, and chilled nature of the dish actually sprung out of the religious law that proscribes both heating food and separating parts of an animal on the Sabbath. Hence, gefilte fish was prepared on Fridays, then served chilled on the Sabbath, Saturday.

As technology progressed, this delicacy was no longer chopped by hand or stuffed inside fish skin, and it became a popular (or shall I say unpopular?) jarred product in the 1950s. It's either prepared in a peppery, savory style unique to the Russian Jewish tradition, or in a sweeter fashion, which originated from Poland, Germany, and Austria. Have you ever tried gefilte fish?

Source: Flickr Users biskuit and The Gifted Photographer

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Join The Conversation
Anna-Monette-Roberts Anna-Monette-Roberts 3 years
I guess if you think of it like how tuna salad is better refrigerated, the idea of cold fish isn't so unappetizing. I haven't tried it, but I would if it were ever offered to me!
hexentanz hexentanz 4 years
Now that it has been explained. It sounds and looks a little more appetizing. :P
cherie-u cherie-u 4 years
I'll have on holidays with the beet horseradish, but admit that I can't take too much of it
Chlo-ish Chlo-ish 4 years
Gefilte fish is delicious. There's a jar of it in my fridge right now.
danizzle danizzle 5 years
ugh. its the one food of my people that makes me say "WHY?!?!?!"
fuzzles fuzzles 5 years
Never had. But it looks and sounds much more appetizing than lutefisk. *shudder*
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