Amy Brent invited Lindsay Leder, our Senior Director of Community Engagement, and myself to her home for gefilte fish day. As Pesach approaches each year, Amy, her mother, Judy, and her mother-in-law, Dasi, prepare for the holiday by making their homemade fish to serve at Amy’s seder. Lindsay and I could hear all the chatting and laughing as we walked up to Amy’s front door. As she greets us, she says Judy and Dasi were already hard at work, “The divas are well underway,” she jokes.
Amy and her mother, Judy Gold, have been making fish together for Amy’s whole life. It’s something that Amy’s three adult children really look forward to coming home to at the holiday. Amy’s husband, Greg, whom everyone insists is the real chef in the house, usually participates, as well.
Greg’s mother, Dasi, newly back from her winter in Florida, has been part of the event for the past 5 years. She brings a fun energy to the room, joking with Judy the way old friends do.
Amy tells us, “I’ve been married 28 years. I went to high school with my husband, Greg, but we didn’t know each other until college. But the crazy part is our moms have known each other their whole lives!”
Amy has given to The Joy Project almost all 10 years it has been running. She sends tributes to Judy, Dasi, and her friends. Amy says she thinks she learned of the program years ago from an ad in The Jewish News. “I think it’s the nicest idea,” she says. “Everyone who gets a card comments on how nice it is.” Dasi tells us, “I look forward to receiving my card. I keep all of them.”
As Amy and her mothers share photos of grandchildren and discuss upcoming family plans. Amy says, “It’s so hard to be a mother. How can you not want to help people on Mother’s Day?” Judy, adds, “I love it. I feel very honored to receive a tribute.”
So what’s the secret to perfect gefilte fish? According to Dasi, it’s pepper. “But Judy’s gluten-free so we do it her way.” If you ask Judy she’ll tell you the secret is, “Salt. Just when you think it’s too salty. Add more salt.”
Lindsay asks the group, “What do you guys do while the fish cooks?” Dasi jokes, “We fight.”
In case you had any doubt how close these families are, Amy tells us, “We just had spa day for Dasi’s birthday.” Judy elaborates, “We go to lots of dinners together. We combine our families a lot.” Amy says, “We’re really lucky.”
Though the women make their fish from memory each year, they helped us compile a “recipe” for anyone who might also like salty, gluten-free gefilte fish. Adjust your amounts to suit.
White fish – deboned
Pickerel – deboned
Boil the onions and carrots in water to create a stock
Roll fish, parsley, and salt and pepper into balls
Add more salt
Cook balls in the stock for 3 hours
Read more information about the history of The Joy Project here.
To send a tribute to the special women in your life, visit here.