Gefilte Fish Heads the Year

The item on the menu for every Jewish holiday is, of course, Gefilte Fish. Although I have posted it for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), rather than Shavuos, it is the same recipe that came down through the generations in my family.


How do you recognize a Jewish fish? It swims with a carrot in its mouth. I think this joke is older than the gefilte fish itself.  In truth, even though eating fish on Erev Shabbos  (Friday night) and holidays is an ancient custom that had been developed for several reasons, the actual gefilte (stuffed) fish has not swam into our field of vision, biting a carrot, until about 18th century.


In the dessert, the Jews complain about “fish for the asking” they had eaten in Egypt. Most probably, according to ancient sources, they had carp, pike, and mullet. Stuffed fish, the predecessor of gefilte fish, is mentioned in several books of Jewish customs. One of the reasons is the prohibition to separate good from bad (boirer) on Shabbos and Yom Tov, which literally means picking out bones.  Ground up fish stuffed into skin neatly takes care of this…

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Osyth says:

    Wow! That’s a fish and a half and how interesting the tour through the history of Gefilte Fish. Makes Quenelle de Brochet look like a cake-walk!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! And I would say the same about Quenelle de Brochet, or any French mousse-type creations and sauces. That was the biggest one I’ve ever done, though, so I had to cut the head off and cook it separately, as it didn’t fit even into my gigantic fish pan.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeyran Main says:

    Can you come to my house and cook please ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Why don’t you come to my house and eat – we love guests!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jeyran Main says:

        I live in Canada lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can join the seasonal Canadian invasion of South Florida when it’s starts getting cold up there!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jeyran Main says:

        Lol you heard about that did you? Im in Ontario. We get four seasons. It is really nice here

        Liked by 1 person

      4. What do you mean “heard”? I experience it every year! 35 years ago I decided that I had enough of “four seasons” and moved to South Florida where we have two seasons: snow birds season and off-season.

        Liked by 1 person

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