Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Passover College Memories

I always think of this story at this time of year. I heard the story from my roommate, who was a good friend of the David in this story, and she heard the story from David. She assured me that this was a true story, but even if it isn't true, it should be.

I went to a college in Pennsylvania where about 20% of the students were Jewish. The dining hall made a special effort for the Jewish students at Passover. They had a special Passover line at the dining hall with matzah, Passover cakes and cookies and even gefilte fish.

Gefilte fish is a popular Jewish delicacy and a Passover tradition, sort of like a crab cake but made with chopped up fish held together with matzah meal and eggs. It is cooked and stored in fish broth, then is served with sliced carrots (often cooked in the same broth) and horseradish (another Passover tradition).

The gentiles working in the dining hall had no idea what gefilte fish was, and they were clearly uneasy being around this strange food. Several of them picked it up and served it using tongs held at arms' length to avoid coming into too close contact with it (I observed this myself on several occasions), but the Jews coming through the line were all eager for this holiday treat (at least for the first five or six days!).

Just about everyone who asked for the gefilte fish was Jewish, except for one fellow: an international student from mainland China. Although the name he used in America was David, he was not Jewish. He had no idea what to call this food item, but he knew what he liked. He just came into the Passover line and pointed at it. The gentiles working the dining hall picked it up at arms' length, as usual, and put it on his plate.

One day, one of them asked David, "You really eat that stuff?"

"Yeah!" David said, "It goes great with soy sauce!"


k said...

HYSTERICAL! You're right; if it not true, it should be! Thanks for this blog and for your website. Keep up the good work; many of us appreciate your efforts. I hope your Pesach was a good one. :)


Stephen said...

This was great!

XYZcocktail said...

Maybe they need some jewish servers in the line. I wouldn't expect Jews or Muslims to hand pork products.