The Kugel Joke

[I have heard this joke told a number of times. It is in essence a “shaggy dog” story, a long meandering narrative that is more fun in the telling, in how long one can spin it out and in which absurd directions, than in delivering its punchline, which is not much of a punchline at all. The following is the bare scaffolding of the Kugel Joke; your job is to embellish it as best you can in your own telling.]

Just as the Melish family was sitting down to Hanukkah dinner, the doorbell rang. It was their neighbor Mr. Levitz.

Not wishing to be inhospitable, Mrs. Melish set a place for him at the table beside their youngest son, and invited their visitor to sit down. Levitz sat, saying, “Thank you but I just ate.”

Dishes began to be handed around. When young Fielding Melish passed Levitz the soup, Levitz said, “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly…well, maybe just a little,” and filled his bowl.

Next came the bean salad, and Levitz said, “Really, I’m full…well, maybe just a spoonful or two,” and covered half his plate.

Then came the latkes, and Levitz said, “I really shouldn’t, but maybe one…,” and took three.

And the apple-sauce: “Just a dab,” as he ladled on a large heap.

Next came the brisket: “Oh, maybe a slice…at most!” And he took three thick slices, including the coveted end piece.

And then, finally, Fielding handed him the kugel casserole, and Levitz’s eyes lit up: “KUGEL! Now kugel I could eat!!!”

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