Gefilte Fish (two songs)

See Lecture: "Ashkenazi Food"

There are two songs about "Gefilte Fish" [stuffed fish] - one by the American song-writer Isidor Lillian, and the other written in Russian for the TV show "Pesni Everyskogo Mestechka" [Songs from a Shtetl] and translated into Yiddish by Roman Grinberg.

(1)  Gefilte Fish,  by Isidor Lillian 

Zogt vos esn yidn mit groys kheyshek Tell me what Jews eat and love
Bay yenem tsi boay zikh aleyn in shtub At another's table, or at home.
Si'z pareve. Nit milkhiks un nit fleyshiks, It's pareve, not milk, not meat,
Nor a maykhl vos a yeder yid hot lib. The morsel that you just must eat.
Zogt vos iz a yeder froys ambitsye Say what every housewife's dearest wish is,
Me hot es lib, me veyst take far vos, You love it, and you know just why you do,
S'iz a yidish maykhl mit traditsiye The Jewish food that has its own tradition,
Un yedn erev shabes est men dos, Every shabbes, it's what you want to chew.
Gefilte fish, gefilte fish. Gefilte fish, gefilte fish.
S'iz a maykhl vos hot toyznt tamen It's a thousand flavor treat
Khob tsu ersht farzukht dos bay mayn mamen. First tasted at my mother's knee,
Iz es tayer, iz es voyl, It's precious, its so good,
A maykhl far dem folk yisroel, It's the Jewish national food,
Esndik tsegeyt es zikh in moyl. As you eat, it melts right in your mouth.
Oy, di gefilte fish zey zenen yidish. The gefilte fish themselves are Jewish.
Me kumt fun shul, me shtelt zikh makhn kidish, You come from shul, you say the kiddush,
In shtub iz sheyn un reyn un frish, At home it's lovely, clean and fresh,
Me zetst zikh tsum gedektn tish You sit down at a covered table
Un men derlangt gefilte fish. And you are served gefilte fish.
Der unger hot lib gulyash mit paprike, Hungarians love their gulash with paprika,
Der polyak hot lib bigos fleysh mit broyt, Poles, they favor bigos meat with bread,
Bay dem rus iz royter borsht der iker, Russians, they prefer their borsht red,
Un der yeke hot lib klise mit kroyt. Germans would rather have cabbage dumplings.
A mamelige glaykhn di rumener Mamelige is favored by Roumanians,
Un der gruziner hot lib a shashlik, And Georgians just love their shashlik.
Nor vos gut iz veysn zey nit keyner, None of these folks know what's really good,

Un adrabe yidn, zogt mir vos iz gut?

On the contrary, say what's really good?
Gefilte fish, gefilte fish. Gefilte fish, gefilte fish.

Source: CD - "Enchanted" - Adrienne Cooper

(2)  Gefilte Fish,  adapted from the Russian by Roman Grinberg

1. Men darf hobn a bisele seykhl1. One has to have a bit of common sense
A frishn fish koyfn aleyn, And to buy a fresh fish oneself, 
Dertsu nit fargesn, zayt moykhl,Don't forget, excuse me,
Nit foyln zikh, onraybn khreyn! Don't be lazy, add bitter herbs.
Itst makht men dem fish, mayn khakhome, Now we make the fish, my wise one,
Alts eyns, fun'm taykh tsi fun yam,Whether it's from a lake or the sea,
Un git tsi a bisl neshome,And give it a bit of soul
Zol hobn a yidishn tam! (2) So that it has a Jewish taste! (2)
2. A yidishe fayne mishpokhe2. A fine Jewish family
Gefilte fish esn gegreyt, Gets ready to eat gefilte fish, 
Oyf shabes men makht un men kokht imIt's made and cooked for Shabbat
Men est mit hanoye, mit freyd.And eaten with enjoyment and happiness.
Men trinkt tsu dem fish, mayn khakhome,With the fish we drink, my wise one,
A glezele koshere vayn,A small glass of kosher wine,
Dernokh geyt a shtikl pastromeThen a piece of pastrame,
Men filt zikh gor voyl un gor fayn! (2)We feel so good and fine! (2)
3. Gefilte fish - vos ken zayn beser?3. Gefilte fish - what could be better?
Dos vet zogn a yeder yid.Every Jew would say this.
Ikh bin take a groyser freserI'm a great eater of the fish
Nor vi makht men dem fish veys ikh nit.But I don't know how to make it.
Ikh hob lib dem fish, mayn khakhome,I love the fish, my wise one,
Alts eyns funem taykh tsi fun yam,Whether from a lake or the sea,
Gegreyt mit a bisl neshomePrepared with a bit of soul
Zol hobn a yidishn tam! (2)So that it has a Yiddish taste! (2)