Monday, September 05, 2005

Passover Revisited

One of the best things about Passover each year is gefillte fish. Some people never acquire a taste for it, but it is one of those Jewish foods that I have always loved. Early on I learned how to make it and forever impressed my mother-in-law. Cooking has been our real bond, not the actual beliefs of Judaism.

So every year I make fish. I never measure anything, so some years it’s better than others. It stinks up the whole house as the fish bones and skin and heads simmer in a water bath of onions and carrots waiting for the little patties of ground fish (mixed with onions and carrots and parsnips and eggs and matzoh meal and salt and pepper and sugar) to be dropped in to cook. I make fresh horseradish by grinding horseradish roots with beets and adding sugar and vinegar. It is hot enough to clean out anybody’s sinuses. We eat up all the fish and then we forget about it for another year.

But then around September I discover that frozen container of fish broth in the downstairs refrigerator. My friend Linda finds her Julia Childs recipe for fish soup and we enjoy it all over again. Her fish soup is to die for! She makes crusty bread and slathers it with a garlic sauce. Then she ladles the most wonderful broth over the bread and we enjoy the smell. The broth is seasoned with tomatoes and lots of saffron, rendering it a rich orange-red color. And then we eat, racing to eat the bread before it soaks up the last drops of soup broth. When it’s gone we think ahead to next Passover when there will once again be gefillte fish and more broth.

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