Not enough gefilte fish for Passover?

Some Passover guests will miss this dish at their holiday table--and others may not.

Story highlights

  • Cold temperatures are to blame for limited supply of freshwater fish
  • Some Passover hosts may not have any gefilte fish on the table

(CNN)Why is this Passover different than other Passovers?

Because you may not have any gefilte fish at your table on Passover, which starts at sundown on April 3.
February's record cold temperatures are to blame for the shortage of fish ingredients, reported Erica Marcus, a food writer at Newsday, the Long Island, New York, newspaper.
    "The traditional Passover appetizer is made from ground whitefish, carp and yellow pike," Marcus wrote. "All three are freshwater fish from the Upper Midwest, and all three are in short supply this spring because the Great Lakes are still covered with ice."
    While some restaurants reported having no supply issues, it may be a different story for the home cook.
    There's great debate within the Jewish community about the flavor of the classic gefilte fish dish, which isn't always the tastiest food at the table.
    "I've never seen what all the fuss is about," Marcus told CNN. "It's about as challenging a taste as tuna fish salad."
    The fishing boats just can't sail or fish on frozen lakes.
    Many of the Great Lakes are still partially frozen over, according to fisheries expert Ronald Kinnunen, an educator with Michigan State University's Sea Grant Extension Program.
    "Nobody's getting their fishing boats out," Kinnunen said.
    "I'm looking at the satellite images and Lake Superior's half covered in ice," he said. It's still iced over at the Mackinac Bridge, where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan come together at the Straits of Mackinac, he added.
    Blame an early Passover this year. Next year, it will likely be better for fishing. Passover doesn't start until sunset on April 22, much later in the month.
    The fish dish is not a religious requirement of the Seder dinner, but don't try telling that to cooks searching for the right ingredients for their classic recipes.
    If your mother or other host is mourning not having the dish at the table this year, offer to make chicken Kotletky or another offering from CNN Eatocracy's list of Passover recipes from around the world.