weeks before a major Jewish holiday, call your daughter and ask her
what she plans to serve at the festive meal. Express your outrage
when she suggests serving doctored up canned gefilte fish. Offer to
make the fish yourself.
that your daughter take a day off from work so that she can watch you make
the fish, so she'll know how to do it for her kids after she has put you
in The Home. Two
days before the holiday, call your daughter and tell her that you hate to
disappoint her but you simply don't have the strength to make gefilte
- While your daughter
is racing all over looking for a substitute appetizer, get all dressed
up and take a bus...and a subway...and another bus...
- ...to an obscure
fish store in a slum where they still sell LIVE CARP.
the carp swimming in the fish tank. Ask the owner if any fresher carp
will be arriving soon.
- On principle, reject
the first two fish that he offers you.
the third or fourth. Allow him to fillet and skin the carp but NEVER let him
put your fish near his electric grinder. Far be it from you to accuse
someone unjustly, but you know he has ground dead carp in it.
- Lugging three heavy
shopping bags filled with fish, take three buses home, unless someone has
told you about a way of taking four.
your daughter and tell her that you felt a little bit better and decided
to go to your special fish store to pick up the carp. You know
how busy she is right before the holidays so you didn't want to ask
her to drive all the way out there.
her how exhausted you are and describe in detail the assassin who tried
to steal your pocketbook as you were boarding the second bus. Inquire whether your daughter
would mind picking you up. You normally wouldn't ask but it's much
easier to make the gefilte fish in her kitchen because she has all the
latest electric gadgets.
- Remove several washed
mixing bowls from your daughter's dishwasher and then rinse them to make
sure they are clean.
should be a separate bowl for each ingredient so that dirt from the
carrots will not get on the celery. Put the diced carrots in one bowl, the sliced celery
in the second, the chopped onions in the third and then combine them all
in a fourth bowl. Ask your daughter to stop whatever she is doing
and come and watch you.
your daughter's food processor with suspicion. Ask her to help you operate it. Chop
the carp in it for 15 seconds, then move all the ingredients into your
ancient wooden chopping bowl.
up those Hadassah arms and attack the ingredients with a dull bladed
hockmesser for 90 minutes. Demand
that your daughter acknowledge the superiority of your withered arm over
a horsepower motor.
your hand on your chest and moan. Accept your daughter's offer to help. Give
her the bowl and the hockmesser.
seconds later, snatch the bowl and chopper out of your daughter's hands. Tell her
to watch carefully so she'll be more of a help next year. Pulverize
the fish with your chopper for another 52 minutes.
- On the bottom of a cast-iron
pot with a non-matching lid (rescued by your mother during a pogrom and
brought in steerage to America), arrange slices of carrots, onions, celery,
fish heads, skin and bones.
- Form the chopped fish
mush into oval patties and lay them gently on top of the ingredients in
- Add liquid and seasonings,
bring the pot to a boil, lower to simmer, cover the pot and let the fish
cook until they're ready and taste good...but not as good as last year's.
the patties cool, arrange them on a beautiful serving platter for your daughter
and her guests.
Dump the heads, skin and bones in a chipped bowl for yourself. Practice
saying that the heads and the bones are the tastiest portions until you
morning after the holiday, call your daughter and tell her that you
just tasted a piece of bottled fish that was even more delicious than
what she served last night. Tell
her it's a shame she made it from scratch when everyone does such wonderful
things with canned.