gefilte fishWe know that there is discrimination in this world. But this story…this is a story that will shock us all.

As we read, we will learn about how deep into the sea of discrimination men can dive, as they fish around for justification, just for the halibut, only to realize that it’s all a bunch of carp.

Yes, there’s a “Fish War” on in Israel, as gefilte fish importers cry foul at local producers not being subjected to gefilte fish standards as strict as is required for locally produced fish, Ynet reports.

Gefilte fish is a traditional Jewish dish of poached stuffed fish that can be served either warm or cold. As it turns out, gefilte fish is subjected to specific regulations. According to the relevant standard (number 841for those who care) for preserving fish, applicable to carp preserved in gefilte fish sauce, each piece is supposed to be made of carp alone.

But importers claim that in reality, the standard is not being applied to local producers and is only being enforced against them. “It turns out that the stuffed fish pieces suffer from serious discrimination in Israel,” a statement by the importers said.

Gideon Regev, who heads the food department in the Chamber of Commerce, said “the Israeli gefilte fish is made of mixture of fish, but local producers are not subject to any enforcement mechanism.” Regev says the Standards Institute does not allow fish ball importers to refer to the product as gefilte fish unless it’s made of carp only. “There is no justification for this or a traditional reason stemming from unique recipes,” he said. “The product meets all regulations and is imported with a Health Ministry permit. There is no reason not to call the product by its real name.”

The Israel Standards Institute, meanwhile, said the Health Ministry was in charge of the matter.

In summary, everyone’s blaming each other, and who suffers? The poor little fishies. What would Jesus do? Did he say, I’m all up for a miracle regarding fishes, but not you, fish balls? Did Dr. Seuss write a book called “One Fish, Two Fish, Not Fish, You Fish?”

So let’s all band together, as a nation, and carpe eat’em, displaying our openness to being omnipiscean as we welcome gefilte fish, in all its forms, to Ashkenazi kiddush tables everywhere.

(And for those of you who are completely and utterly opposed to gefilte fish in general for Sephardic heritage or other reasons, at least support the fishes’ right to equal treatment. As for the gelatinous substance they’re bottled in that has a longer shelf life than that of a case of Twinkies? No worries…you can discriminate against that stuff all you like.)

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

11 Comments

  • I have had really good gefilte fish exactly once: it was homemade from scratch and a true revelation. Really, really delicious. I was astonished.

    However, the stuff that comes in tins or bottles and “graces” (I use the word loosely) Ahkenazi kiddush tables is certainly not gefilte fish, much less food.

    An East Coast, horse-riding, cotillion-going elbow-length glove wearing shiksa of my acquaintance (wound up marrying a MOT,would you believe it?) accurately described the contents of such tins and bottles as “failed biology experiments”.

    A more apt description would be hard to find. While such stuff may belong in petri dishes, test-tubes, or in bell jars preserved in formaldehyde, a table is somewhere where it most certainly does not belong.

    Now herring, on the other hand…..

  • That clear gel always reminds me of SNL’s “Crystal Gravy.” I was trying to find a clip for all you SNL novices, but it’s not as easy as I thought it would be…

  • This looks like a bogus report.

    GF is a mixture of at least 2 fishes always. Carp is one, then the other will be a whiting, or better would be pike. Then they add the hideous fillers.

    You can go into a kosher fish store and ask them to grind your choices btw, but this works out to pretty expensive and is best for special occassions.

    I beleive in Israel they use other fish than pike as the filler.

    In England, btw, they make the GF then they slice it in a circle and fry this. It is a good technique.

  • I’m not jewish, so was only introduced to gefilte fish very recently when my sister married a jewish man (and became a schickze I’m told). He introduced me to the fish balls, but it was more like a ‘shalom’.

    I said hello AND goodbye to the stuff in only one bite.

  • It was from a jar, but he said it was ‘the good kind’. I guess that means there is a worse kind that you can get from a jar:)

    I guess I would consider trying it again homemade if you really think it’s different. I mean, the matza ball soup was fantastic! And we had something with noodles and blueberries in it (I know, it sounds horrible) that was great as well.

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