A Kosher Meal for Zaide

Last night my whole family went out for dinner for my brother’s birthday and my mom’s birthday, which happen to fall two days apart. We went to Di Pescara, a Lettuce Entertain You fish and seafood restaurant in Northbrook. My grandfather (I call him Zaide, which means grandpa in Yiddish) came to dinner with us, and while it is always a pleasure, it is also a challenge. He observes the laws of Kashrut very strictly, so when we eat a restaurant that hasn’t been declared “kosher,” he sticks to the fish and the vegetarian options.

The rest of my family, on the other hand, has a harder time resisting the temptation of treif (aka all the food we’re not supposed to eat if we’re keeping kosher). So while we drooled over the shellfish menu and eyed the waitress longingly as she explained the crab special, each of us dutifully ordered a more appropriate dish that wouldn’t make Zaide uncomfortable.

As a substitute for the crab cakes I’d been craving, I ordered the salmon cakes instead and was wonderfully surprised. They had been pan-fried, so they weren’t greasy, yet extremely flavorful and filling. They had a mix of herbs and spices, tender pieces of salmon and even some mashed potatoes for texture, which I really enjoyed. All in all, not the sacrifice I had anticipated.

That is until we realized my dad had snuck some shrimp into his Fish and Chips! The traitor!

We have a simple recipe for Salmon Patties on the site that’s so easy to make at home! It’s cheap, flavorful and a nice way to get your Omega 3s!

Salmon Patties


1 can (15 or 16 oz) salmon, cleaned (set aside 2 Tbs. of the juice)
1 egg
1/3 C. minced onion
1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 C. Crisco


Drain salmon and set aside 2 Tbs. of the juice. Mix salmon, egg and onion until sticky. Stir in flour. Add baking powder to salmon juice, stir into salmon mixture. Form into small patties and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, in hot Crisco. Serve with tartar sauce.

Author’s Note: My mother’s grandfather used to say “Everybody makes their own kosher” and this is hard to truly comprehend unless you grow up keeping kosher. True, the laws of kashrut are specific and inflexible, but every family does what they can to observe the way they can. In my family, we keep kosher in the house (2 sets of dishes for milk and meat, etc.) but eat basically anything out of the house. I know… it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I promise it does to us. :)

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