like gefilte fish. if you’re jewish–or an “honorary jew,” as i say, i.e. you spend so much time w/us jews that you’re practically jewish yourself and “oy vey” with the best of us–you’re no stranger to this food. i didn’t realize it was…well, a little weird, until holly and i were together a couple years and i introduced her to it.
“what,” she whispered discreetly in my ear as we attended her very first seder, “is this?”
“it’s gefilte fish,” i whispered back. “it’s…” i paused. suddenly i didn’t know how to describe it.
how could i get this girl from western pee-ay to try a food made from a number of fish–man i didn’t even know what kind of fish were in it. hell, some gefilite fish has carp (overgrown goldfish, basically) in it, something i purposely ignore or else i wouldn’t eat it.
to add insult to injury, it’s preserved on dusty supermarket shelves nationwide in fish jelly. (yes! fish jelly) it also has eggs in it. and matzah meal. and it’s boiled. oh and you slather it with horseradish (horseradish w/beets) before you eat it. and…yeah.
“it’s good,” i assured her as she stared wide-eyed at her plate. “it’s a traditional jewish food. try it. you might like it.”
sport that she is, she tried it. and…didn’t like it.
how could this be? i wondered. how could she not like gefilte fish? and this was the homemade kind. not even a hint of the gross, translucent jiggly fish jelly. (ok, now i’m talking myself out of liking it. i’d better stop w/the jelly talk or else i’ll never eat it again.)
suddenly it dawned on me: gefilte fish is an acquired taste. one of those ethnic foods you just grow up with and ignore its inherant grossness/weirdness b/c it’s been a part of your life for so long.
i’m bringing this up now b/c it’s passover. passover is the holiday for gefilte fish and other odd foods such as chocolate-covered matzah (omg i LOVE chocolate-covered matzah; the exact reason i didn’t buy any this year. i will eat it all.) yeah, passover is basically the festival of gefilte fish. if you love gefilte fish, this is your time to shine, baby.
please share your acquired, ethnic foods w/me. let’s see if you can beat minced whitefish/pike/grown goldfish preserved in a translucent fish jelly served with horseradish and beets. happy passover!