The Real Heart of the Pesach Seder

Gefilte fish (Photo by David Stuck)

The story of Passover is at the heart of every Seder meal.  It overflows with the rituals and tradition that make this holiday so different from any other.

Passover reminds me of my late mother who stood in line to buy whitefish, pike and rockfish — the only mixture she would use — as she tipped the fish monger for removing the eyes, head and tails and grinding the fish.  I was the  taster of the raw mixture to make sure the amount of pepper was just right.  Little did I know, that was my first sushi tasting.

Recently, on the Food Network, I saw a top chef boiling the eyeballs in broth and eating them as a favorite delicacy.

It was only a few decades ago that the only gefilte fish choices we had were from a caterer or tediously made from scratch like everyone’s bubbie did — a real labor of love.  Today, selections of already-ground, seasoned frozen fish are awaiting your own personal touch to cook terrines, loaves, fish kabobs or traditional oval servings.  It may not be exactly your bubbie’s fish, but a multicolored gefilte fish terrine or kabob might become a family favorite.  And to your kids and grandkids, it will then become their bubbie’s fish.

In produce, try a big hunk of celeriac. Peel, dice and cook in your homemade soup. It gives a sweet, mild celery flavor.  Don’t resist cauliflower, the new healthy “rice.”  Use the accompanying recipe for a delicious, good-for-you side dish to any meal.

Remember the round egg yolk balls your bubbie used to serve in the chicken soup? Try my recipe to make tiny ones that resemble the old-fashioned ones.  One tiny one in a soup serving couldn’t hurt, right?

As you set your table, remember to squeeze in a person or couple who would otherwise be alone for Passover.  It will be your biggest mitzvah and will make your matzoh balls fluffy and your brisket sweet.


Easy, Healthy Cauliflower Rice (Pareve)

Sweet and Crunchy Quinoa (Pareve)

Old-Fashioned Egg Balls for Chicken Soup

A Delicious Sauce


Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.


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