A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 07, 2008
Gefilte Fish

Entry in progress—B.P.


Wikipedia: Gefilte fish
Gefilte fish (Yiddish: געפֿילטע פֿיש) (English: filled fish) are poached fish patties or balls made from a mixture of ground deboned fish, mostly carp (common carp). They are popular in the Ashkenazi Jewish community.

Preparation and serving
In traditional recipes for gefilte fish, the fish is first deboned, often while still at the market. Next, the fish is ground together with eggs, onions and flour, matzoh meal or challah, and then stuffed into the skin of the deboned fish, giving it the name gefilte (filled or stuffed, compare the German gefüllte). The whole stuffed fish is then poached with carrots and onions. When prepared this way, it is usually served in slices. This form of preparation eliminated the need for picking fish bones at the table and stretched the fish further, so that even poor families could enjoy fish on the Sabbath.

In the present, gefilte fish are more commonly found in patty form. The ground fish mixture is shaped into balls or oval patties and poached in a fish stock made from the head and bones of the fish. The poached balls are usually chilled and served with or without the jelled broth, accompanied by a horseradish-vinegar sauce known as chrain (either the red variety, flavored with beets, or plain white chrain, which has a sharper taste).

Variations
Gefilte fish may be slightly sweet or savory. Preparation of gefilte fish with sugar or black pepper is considered an indicator of whether a Jewish community was Galitzianer or Litvak. Traditionally, carp, pike, or whitefish were used to make gefilte fish, but more recently other fish with white flesh such as Nile Perch have been used, and there is a pink variation using salmon.

Commercial gefilte fish is sold in cans and glass jars, and packed in jelly made from fish broth. The US Patent #3,108,882 “Method for Preparing an Edible Fish Product” for this jelly, which allowed mass-market distribution of gefilte fish, was granted on October 29, 1963 to Monroe Nash.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: ge·fil·te fish
Pronunciation: \gə-ˈfil-tə-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Yiddish, literally, stuffed fish
Date: 1892
: balls or cakes of seasoned minced fish usually simmered in a fish stock or baked in a tomato sauce

(Oxford English Dictionary)
gefüllte fish
[Yiddish, a. G. gefüllt filled, stuffed, f. füllen FILL v.]
A Jewish dish of stewed or baked stuffed fish or fish-cakes, boiled in a fish- or vegetable-broth.
1892 I. ZANGWILL Childr. Ghetto I. I. iv. 114 There is even gefüllte Fisch, which is stuffed fish without bones.
1916 J. LAIT Beef, Iron, & Wine (1917) 15 That crowd of tired hoi-polloi fighting for a spot to stand to get their corned beef and cabbage, or gefuellte fish.
1931 D. RUNYON Guys & Dolls (1932) iv. 71, I am sitting in Mindy’s restaurant putting on the gefillte fish.

Martyn’s Menu Directory
by Charles Martyn
New York, NY: The Caterer Publishing Co.
1903
Pg. 48: 
Gefullt, Gefullter, Gefullte, pluralGerman).  Stuffed.

Chronicling America
26 December 1904, New York (NY) Sun, pg. 5, col. 5:
“You may talk about originality, but it takes the Eastsiders to introduce it,” said he. “Early in the evening I thought the acme of realism had been reached. but imagine my surprise when I saw a young woman trying to cook gefullte fish (stuffed fish) on an old stove in the middle of the hall. I allowed a few to make chop meat, but when it comes to gefullte fish, why I had to draw the line.”

Chronicling America
5 February 1905, New York (NY) Sun, third section, pg. 7, col. 6:
He spends many of his evenings in a little restaurant on Broome street. To hear him give an order in Yiddish and watch him enjoy a plate of gefulte fish or partake of mamaliuskas (pancakes stuffed with cheese), or greeven (fried goose fat), or a plate of rotareiben soup, or sip a glass of tea with a piece of lemon in it, is a novelty to the casual observer.

Glimpses of a Strange World
by H. S. Stollnitz
Cambridge, Mass.
Printed for the Author
1908
Pg. 92: 
He spoke the prayer over the “Chalos” (shewbread), and the repast progressed amid joy and the expressions of mutual appreciation and encouragement, Chatskel remarking that such a broth would be good enough for even the richest man. But when the “gefillte” fish were put on the table, accompanied by freshly grated horse-radish, Chatskel’s eulogies for hissister Esther Leben were beyond limit…

18 March 1911, Hartford (CT) Courant, pg. 16:
Abraham Holendusky, better know as Abe the Newsboy, the gefilte fish champion of the roped circle, who claims New London as his home, occasionally makes trips to New York of anywhere else when he can cop a few shekels at wrestling of boxing.

2 May 1913, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 3:
How Much Weighs a Gefillte Fish? 

Kosher Americans
by Joseph D. Rosenberg
Atlantic City, NJ: Associated Publishers Company
1929
Pg. 321 (Appendix):
YIDDISH TRANSLATION
gefilte fish...stuffed fish...63

The Rise of the Goldbergs
by Gertrude Berg
New York, NY:  Barse and Company
1931
Pg. 42:
They’ll be no more of that soup and gefilte fish* and Peseach matzos.**
*Stuffed fish.
**Passover matzos.

Dining in Chicago
by John Drury
with a foreword by Carl Sandburg
New York, NY: John Day Company
1931
Pg. 67: 
At Gold’s, the chopped chicken livers, served with a touch of “schmaltz” (goose grease), are an excellent appetizer; the noodle soup is a rich concoction; the chicken “blinzes” with green peas are deserving of high praise; the gefulte fish is the last word; and the Russian tea and cookies are just the thing for dessert.

January 1944, Jewish Standard (Toronto), pg. 7:
“STRICTLY KOSHER”
NEW YORK’S KOSHER RESTAURANTS OFFER BOTH FOOD AND PHILOSOPHY
by WILLIAM B. SAPHIRE
(...)
The name of the owner, and the all important “strictly kosher” sign are painted in red or blue.

On smudged paper, taped or glued to the window in a low corner, is the daily menu.  It (Col. 2—ed.) never varies: gefulte fish, every day, soups with kreplach or mandlin, chopped liver and “vegetables on the side.” An average meal is forty-five cents and always includes tea and a strudel mon cookies or kichlach.  On Jewish holidays the delicacy of the particular day, blintzes or hammantash, is featured.  Then the price jumps a little.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, June 07, 2008 • Permalink