I said it wasn’t Kosher for Passover, didn’t I?
Hello, my name is The Alemonger and I’m an irreverence addict.
Group response: “welcome, The Alemonger. You have a great name. Actually, it’s ridiculous but we’re supposed to make newcomers feel welcomed and comfortable so we say things we don’t really mean. And we say them in unison.”
So what’s an irreverent Jew to do on Passover? Posting a picture of my Unholy Hand Grenades seemed a bit less problematic than actually making them for tonight’s Seder. The heathens are coming over for the second Seder tomorrow night so I’ll wait 24 hours. The extra day won’t kill me. Better not, because if I go before I hit the reset button next Yom Kippur I’ve got less of chance of getting to Heaven than FGCU has of getting to the Final Four. Hmm… Then again, maybe my chances are a bit better than I suspect. For the record, an unnamed brother specifically asked me to make Unholy Hand Grenades (matzo balls cooked in Stone Smoked Porter and wrapped in bacon) for tonight’s Seder but I declined.
I also declined – no, refused – to serve Gefilte Fish. That oily conglomerate of congealed “fish” loaf is possessed of a highly toxic and fetid stench. No wonder we aren’t making enough Jewish babies. The contact odor alone is enough to defeat even the most amorous of intentions. And another thing: where are its fins? Yeah, yeah, yeah (not The Beatles version), straight to Hell. I know.
What’s a Passover Seder without a traditional brisket and recitation of the 10 Plagues? Over the past several years it occurred to me that both the brisket and the plagues needed a little spicing up – one literally. As for the plagues, well, let’s face it, they need a serious overhaul. It is 5773 after all and frogs just aren’t all that relevant a plague these days. More on that later. Back to the brisket…
I didn’t exactly grow up in a house of cooks and I’ve yet to watch a real live Bubbie prepare a traditional brisket so I walk into the valley of stainless steel Vikings already lead by temptations no self-respecting Jewish cook would entertain. I’m not out to win this season’s Food Network Top Chef so I’ll spare you the full recipe. Suffice it to say that it’ll get my Rabbi’s attention – and not in a good way. Mind you, I did use a healthy amount of Israeli cumin in the dry rub but the fact alone that I used dry rub at all is strike one. Strike two is the coffee. Howard Schultz, Starbucks President himself, wouldn’t even carve a brisket rubbed with their own Ethiopian Sidamo (neither will I – I used Peet’s Major Dickason’s but that’s besides the point).
I go down swinging with strike three by using Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in my braising base. You knew craft beer had to make an appearance somewhere. Oddly (though not at all for anyone who knows me), I’ll use beer in the recipe but I won’t actually drink it at the Passover table. Life is full of gerrymandered lines, rationalizations, and uncommon sense. Remains to be seen if the line between beer and the Passover table will extend to the couch later in the evening. In any event, I figure that actually cooking the brisket in beer – even a world class stout from America’s Torah Belt – is enough all by itself to assure me a long wait for that ferry across the Styx. Maybe I can bribe Charon with a fresh Sculpin or two to show up a little early.
About those plagues…
I get it. Back in the days when Charlton Heston’s ancestor was President of the NSA and defying Pharoah to take his slingshot from his cold dead hand, boils and frogs were probably legitimate plague-worthy inflictions. Not so much anymore. Slaying of the first born would still qualify as a top ten plague today but seems to me a bit extreme these days so let’s bench that one for a while. The time has come to refresh the plagues. Make them relevant again.
I propose we dip our pinky fingers into the Manischewitz for these Ten Plagues we can really get behind:
- Dial-up Internet Access
- The Honey Boo-Boo and it’s Posse
- Bad Chinese Food
- The Twilight Werewolf Guy’s Pecs
- D List Reality TV (Duck Dynasty & Dancing With the Stars)
- Big Beer Pharoahs (ABInbev & MillerCoors)
- Weak 4G Cellular Coverage
- Chick Fil-A Closed on Sundays
Not a perfect list of modern plagues, I know. I expect I’ll be criticized for leaving standard definition TV off the list but that’s not as egregious as the NCAA Tourney Committee’s giving Oregon a 12 seed.
Here’s to a Happy (and possibly Hoppy) Passover! I’d love to hear your suggestions for irreverent celebrations. Let me know what you’re doing to stir things up while hiding the Afikoman.