Open the Windows & Pass the Gefilte Fish

25 Mar

Why is this day different than all other days? Because on this day, I am playing the role of the dutiful daughter.

A Seder table setting

A Seder table setting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I think of Passovers past, I have many wonderful memories of Passover seders spent sitting around the dining room table with much loved family members who aren’t here anymore. I was the youngest child in the family and to this day I can sing the four questions in Hebrew by memory. And I can still belt out a mean Dayenu!

I also remember all the smells that wafted from my mother’s kitchen. There were the good smells, like the chicken soup and the charoset (apples, cinnamon and wine). And then there was the smell of the gefilte fish. I hated the stench of ground fish as it cooked in the pot. Back in the days when my mother made her gefilte fish from scratch, I wouldn’t allow it on my plate. But as we both got older, and she discovered the pre-made variety, I didn’t mind gefilte fish so much. But to this day, the smell of gefilte fish as it cooks – whether from scratch or pre-made — makes me want to puke.

Passover Seder 5771 - Gefilte Fish

Passover Seder 5771 – Gefilte Fish (Photo credit: Edsel L)

Gefilte fish odour aside, my mother used to be a wonderful cook. But at almost 81, she has trouble with her eyesight and Alzheimer’s is messing with her memory. And she should not be cooking. She has a working oven in her unit at the retirement home, but the idea of her cooking concerns me greatly. So to ensure my mother’s safety, and the safety of the other residents, I am ensuring she does not attempt to whip up any of her holiday favourites. Yes, I am cooking up a batch of pre-made gefilte fish for my mother. My son and I are going to the home of friends for seder and it’s the only thing I have to cook today. No surprise, my kitchen reeks. And I still hate the smell of gefilte fish.

Passover starts at sundown tonight.  It lasts for eight days. I hope my mother enjoys the gefilte fish. But most of all, I hope she remembers to eat it before it really starts to smell up her fridge.

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