The Gefulte Fish Project

Sunday, Jan. 10, 1943

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 11.28.19 AMWaves of American bombers had hit Bizerte, the Nazi base in Tunisia. And Lockheed had just tested its newest plane, the Constellation, reputed to be faster than the Japanese Zero while also able to carry cargo such as a light tank.

On the Home Front, my mother was conducting a charm offensive to win over her new mother-in-law, specifically by making gefulte fish. She informed her new sister-in-law: “….we drove to the next village (2 miles) and bought 3 kinds of gefulte fish for next Friday… I got white fish, pike, and perch. They never heard of ‘hecht’ out here” Her mother-in-law excelled at this dish so I can understand my mother’s desire to emulate her. What my mother didn’t realize is that “hecht” is German – and Yiddish – for pike. If she’d been back east, with easy distance of Jewish delis, fishmongers, and other services, someone would have set her straight. But in Maywood, she was encountering the lack of ethnic variety in the rural Midwest compared to easily accessible Jewish neighborhoods back east. In any case, this was a short-term culinary project. My mother never made gefulte fish as far as I can remember. She gladly ceded the job to her mother-in-law. And I can’t blame her. Delicious as gefulte fish is, it requires grinding, mixing, and poaching several kinds of fish, rather like matzoh balls.

This entry was posted in Chicago during WW II, Jewish life in America during WW II, Music and Media, WWII, Today in WWII, Uncategorized, World War II and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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