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Windows: How to Cook a Fish Head

Zivia Reischer

No Jewish woman is ever a stranger to another. There are some experiences that are universal unifiers, like pain and joy. And fish heads.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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Photo: Shutterstock


y Rosh Hashanah menu included salmon, which is how I wound up standing in front of the salmon display, choosing clean fillets of bright pink salmon neatly vacuum packed on Styrofoam trays. Everything was fine — until I saw the fish heads.

They were right near the salmon, I guess because this was the fish section. And they looked like fish, I guess because they were. Salmon doesn’t look like fish, though. Salmon just looks like salmon.

As I stood there staring at the display of fish heads, I thought to myself, of course, I need a fish head for Rosh Hashanah.

I really should buy a fish head for Rosh Hashanah, I thought.

It’s a good thing they put the fish heads near the salmon, I thought. Otherwise I never would have remembered to buy one.

What a pity they put the fish heads near the salmon, I thought. Otherwise I would never have remembered to buy one.

Then I noticed I was not alone. Not only because of all those fish eyes staring fixedly at me. Because there was another woman next to me. She was also standing stock-still and staring down at the fish heads. I recognized the look in her eyes.

We stood there in silence. 


Finally she said, kind of helplessly, “I just… you know… I don’t want to put a fish head in my pot.”

“I know,” I said soberly. “I don’t even want to put it in my wagon.”

The fish heads were $2.99. That sounded like a lot of money. I didn’t want to pay $2.99 for a fish head. I didn’t want a fish head at all.

Then I saw them — cooked fish heads. For $7.99. Which was even more money to pay for a fish head I didn’t want.

My friend Shana had told me that her husband bought her a cooked fish head as a Yom Tov gift. I thought that was extreme. But not anymore.

You don’t have to put a cooked fish head in your pot. Only in your wagon. And on your table. And in your mou—

“I don’t even know how to cook a fish head,” I whimpered.

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