Fast Facts: Don’t Feel Guilty About Gefilte Fish

UNITED STATES一 As we near the last days of Passover, I thought we could take a look back at one of the more fishy moments in history.

In the winter of 2013, the northern part of the United States was plunged into a polar vortex that by the time spring rolled around left the Great Lakes region with four-feet of ice on the lakes and a low supply of white fish, the preferred variety for the “spam of Jewish food” gefilte fish according to an April 15, 2014, article on Grub Street.

Normally I could not care less about the pickled colorless blob that is gefilte fish but I acknowledge that it has graced my Nana’s Passover table every year since before I was a twinkle in my father’s eye.

In April of 2014, the shortage of fish left many Jewish families in a scramble, and commercial agencies pulling their hair out as their shipments of fish were mere fractions of their orders.

“Everybody’s pulling their hair out,” said Kevin Dean, co-owner of Superior Fish Co., a wholesaler near Detroit whose latest shipment provided just 75-pounds of whitefish although he requested 500-pounds, in an April 15, 2014 article from NBC News. “I’ve never seen it this bad this time of year.”

The shortage was felt across the United States but mainly by those looking for fresh white fish to avoid the processed jarred fish.

A dietary rule on Passover is to avoid all wheat and bread-like products, which can include processed foods because they could have been prepared in the same space as products that contain, flour, yeast, wheat, oats, etc.

In an April 18, 2014 interview with NPR Matt Chaban a New York Times reporter, shared that bigger suppliers like Manischewitz order their fish a year in advance because they have dealt with shortages in the past.

While this is a kosher-approved supplier those that are strictly observant and avoid processed food had a harder time that year obtaining fresh white fish to make their own gefilte.

Much to my chagrin, there is no such problem for 2021, although we are still in a pandemic there is plenty of geflite fish to go around. Happy Pesach everyone!

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