Carping About the Weather

The Polar Vortex Led to a Serious Gefilte-Fish Shortage

Pike place.
Pike place. Photo: Shutterstock

Passover is underway, and the bad news is that the Spam of Jewish food is apparently in extremely short supply this year, thanks to the polar vortex. It’s gotten so bad that industry giant Manischewitz was forced to dip into its strategic frozen-whitefish reserves for production, and, meanwhile, stores are getting deliveries at a tenth of their usual volume, sending shoppers schlepping in all directions.

Most whitefish comes from the Great Lakes, where there’s still four feet of ice on the water and a sizable chunk of the region still has snow on the ground, which means the fishermen are having a really difficult time getting product. “I can’t remember a time with so little fish,” the owner of BenZ’s in Crown Heights tells the Times, which also reports that while no one really loves the flavor, whitefish is nonetheless essential to Passover. “It may taste like cat food, but that’s why I love it,” explains Peter Shelsky, of Carroll Gardens shop Shelsky’s Smoked Fish.

Gefilte Fish Is Scarce This Passover. Taste Buds Are Ambivalent. [New York Times]

The Polar Vortex Led to a Serious Gefilte-Fish Shortage