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Gefilte Fish: For When You’re Craving a Meal That Tastes Like the Ocean’s Toilet

Gefilte fish is a fish that fucks. There, I said it. Gefilte fish knows it’s disgusting—and it leans in, daring you to say otherwise. Gefilte fish is proud of the fact that most people discreetly feed it to the dog when Aunt Gertie’s looking the other way. But gefilte fish is fine with that because gefilte fish doesn’t want your pity likes. Gefilte fish is here for the people who wanna get freaky.

Gefilte fish is commonly served on Passover, when the most important question every Jew asks is: “Why are you making me eat gefilte fish?” But gefilte fish has confidence to spare because gefilte fish knows that the people who love gefilte fish love it with the fire of a thousand suns. 

Why do we love it so much? Perhaps our taste buds are more refined than yours, perhaps we’re contrarians, or perhaps we don’t want to be categorized into one of your neat, little, gefilte-less boxes. In any case, we’re weird. Just like gefilte fish. 

For those who haven’t had the unique pleasure of trying this trash delicacy, gefilte fish is a patty made of various minced fish that would’ve otherwise been thrown away. It originated in Eastern Europe as a way for impoverished families to make their short supply of fish last longer.

Cynics refer to gefilte fish as the “hot dog of the sea,” the “pescatarian’s regret,” and the “please don’t make me eat that again.” The European Patent Office has a less flowery name for gefilte fish: “edible fish product.” To which I say: gefuck off. 

Sure, it has an unappetizing smell and it’s packaged in disgusting gelatinous goo. But gefilte fish doesn’t deserve its bad rap. If you can get past these superficial concerns, you’ll discover a mildly-flavorful wet ball of seafood that isn’t nearly as offensive to the senses as you think. Smear some red horseradish on top and you’ve got a perfectly fine appetizer, dammit. 

So don’t be ashamed next time you ask Bubbe for a second helping of gefilte fish. You have a stronger stomach than most, and there’s a good chance you’ll outlive all the weaklings who say “no thanks, Nana.” Slather some horseradish on your fishmeat ball and say “chag sameach.”

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