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Manischewitz Sweet Whitefish & Pike 

$4.69
Straub's
302 North Kingshighway

Kosher is the new Atkins. What with Madonna, er, Esther, studying the kabbalah, and our country's collective peeling-back of the lid on industrial agriculture, is there any doubt that food prepared according to millennia-old methods of ritual purity would become popular? You bet your bottom latke it would. Americans now spend more than $50 billion a year on kosher foods, and it's estimated that only one in five buyers is an observant Jew.

Which brings us to the 14.5-ounce jar of Manischewitz Sweet Whitefish & Pike perched upon my neighborhood grocer's top shelf.

The sweet whitefish and pike in Manischewitz Sweet Whitefish & Pike are afloat in their "jelled" broth. As in the natural world, one must fish for one's dinner. So much for metaphor.

I can tell you this: Whitefish is not sweet. Furthermore, it has about as much in common with a pike as a human being does with a chimp. When you pulverize the two and bind them together with matzo, you're committing not one, but two crimes against nature.

In the looks department, a lump of Manischewitz Sweet Whitefish & Pike doesn't the least bit resemble a creature of the deep. To this observer, it's a dead ringer for an albino turd. Like far too many things I've been eating recently, it smells a whole lot like cat food. As the oozy flesh dissolves on my tongue, I note that it has about the same consistency as cat food too.

Still, it goes down as smooth as an oyster.

Just don't tell your rabbi.

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