Monday, April 05, 2010

Gefilte Fish (Page 73)

RECIPE #1133

  • Date: Monday, March 29, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Kitchen: Our Temporary California Home
  • Fellow Chefs: Matty and Chris
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I chose this recipe as part of the All Seafood All The Time plan. I started by finely chopping some fish, then my special gentleman and Chris mixed it with finely chopped carrots, grated onion, parsley, egg, matzo meal, sugar, salt, and pepper. We then formed them into little torpedos and poached them in batches in a simmering mixture of fish stock and water. We served the gefilte fish with horseradish on the side. I wasn't crazy about this dish. In some ways it was certainly better than I expected. The texture of the fish dumplings was nice and they didn't have an overpowering fishy taste. But they had an incredibly strong onion flavor which I didn't care for. I love onions, but grating onions never seems like a good idea to me. Instead of getting little crunchy bursts of onion flavor as you do from chopping onions, there is onion mush distributed throughout. I realize that doesn't sound so bad, but somehow that uniform onion flavor in every bite was very overpowering in this dish. My special gentleman and Chris liked them well enough, but no one was expressing much enthusiasm for this dish. I think there are probably better gefilte fish recipes out there.

This recipe isn't online.

Michigan State played Butler in the semi-finals of the NCAA basketball tournament on Saturday and I was super-excited to watch the game. My special gentleman was skiing, along with all of the other friends we were in Tahoe with, so I went to a bar by myself to watch it. The bartender was very friendly and he was cheering pretty strongly for Butler. I obviously was cheering for Michigan State. He told me he liked Michigan State well enough but he went to Butler as an undergrad. I offered that I had nothing against Butler, but that I live in East Lansing and start working at Michigan State in the fall, so I have loyalty to them. He asked me what I will be doing at Michigan State. I said, "I'll be teaching there." He paused for a second and asked, "Teaching what?" I said, "Math." He gave me this look of confusion, then said, "Huh. Ok." Then he walked away. In that moment I wished I had said something else. "I teach water aerobics." Or, "I am a chef in the dining hall." There are a lot of things that sound more inviting than, "I am a math professor." He was good company to watch the game with and I was sorry that I had scared him off.

When strangers ask me what I do for a living and I answer, they are almost always surprised. I have been told, dozens of times, that I "don't look like a mathematician." I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I don't think it is meant as an insult. I wish, though, that my profession wasn't alienating. Maybe everyone was scared of their own math professors in college, so they are scared of other mathematicians by association. I don't know. I do know that I am not the only person who has this problem. Many of my math friends have admitted that occasionally they lie and make up some completely different profession for just this reason. Tempted as I am, I can't start lying about my profession though. That seems like a step in the wrong direction.

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