Passover is upon the House of Kay. My brisket is a-braising, my dried fruit compote is a-stewing, and my Streit’s matzohs are as dry and boardy as the boxes they come in. My favorite culinary moment so far came when I got a text from a friend in search of a good non-potato kugel recipe. Thanks to AutoCorrect, I bragged to her about my Fearful Stuffing. (I meant “farfel”: look it up.) We shall forevermore call it Fearful Stuffing. So tasty it scares you half to death.
The Passover Seder is a ritual retelling of the Biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. The word “seder” means “order.” There is an order to the telling of the story; typically everybody at the table has a copy of a book that takes the group through the customs and readings. The book is called a haggadah. For a big family, you need a lot of them. A classic American haggadah is the Maxwell House Haggadah. These are still given out at the grocery store at Passover time, but people tend to prefer the Maxwell House edition that was on their table when they were kids. But there are many, many versions of the Haggadah. The story–a struggle for release from slavery into freedom–is a metaphor for many themes in human history and experience. So there is a liberation haggadah, a feminist haggadah, and of course there is a coloring book haggadah.
Dear Annie Modesitt tweeted yesterday that there should be a knitters’ haggadah. Right on, Annie! Let’s write one! Since the holiday starts at sundown tonight, we can’t get the thing completely done in time for this year. Here’s a few bits to cut and paste into your Maxwell House Haggadah.
Page 1 of the Maxwell House Deluxe Edition: The Seder Plate is placed on the table in front of the knitter. A special Seder Plate or a Chinet paper plate may be used. Shown above is a traditional assembly for the Seder Plate which includes the following sacramental foods of knitters (photos):
Page 7: The Knitter then elevates the dish containing the Euroflax Sportweight Linen, and all at the table take hold thereof and say:
This is the Yarn of Affliction, which our ancestors knit in the land of Egypt; let all who have bamboo needles, enter and knit thereof. This year we are knitting linen, which is hard on our hands, but next year we hope to knit handspun cashmere from the land of Mongolia.
The Knitter then opens the door of the home so that the prophet Elizabeth may enter.
Page 9. The Four Questions. Fill the cups with wine the second time. The youngest present then asks the Four Questions.
“Wherefore is this night distinguished from all other nights? Any other night, the Knitter is knitting and watching Mad Men, but on this night only DVRing her programs; all other nights we may eat Lunchables for dinner, but tonight the Knitter has set before us a meal….” and so forth.
Page 19 : Every knitter takes a drop from their iced or hot beverage as they recite in unison the 10 Plagues that were visited upon the manufacturers of cheap crappy yarns:
Not Being From a Smoke-Free, Pet-Free Home
Causing Diverse Kinds of Allergic Reactions
Being The Color of Ladies’ Underpants
Page 10. And it is related of Rabbi Bordhi, Rabbi Jared, Rabbi Meg the daughter of Elizabeth, Rabbi Franklin and Rabbi Lucy that they once met (on the night of Stitches East) in Bal-Timore and spoke of the departure from Poly-Esther all that night, until their disciples came, and said thus: Masters, the time hath arrived to drink the morning latte.
Page 17: And the Knitters were redeemed from synthetic fibers, by the cord of I, by the magic cast-on of Judy, and by the knitting of socks on two circulars. The people of Knittra-el were led from slavery unto extruded synthetic fibers to the the pure natural fibers that are our rightful home. We celebrate our freedom with an Artichoke French and a bag of kettle corn.
Next year, in Rhinebeck!
To all who celebrate this weekend, be it Passover, Easter, or springtime, have a good time, and don’t be afraid of the kugel.