Religion & Beliefs

A Serious Debate: Why Hamantaschen Trump Latkes

If you haven’t had the chance to attend the original Latke Hamantaschen Debate at the University of Chicago, well, that’s sad for you, because it’s brilliant. But if you’ve missed any of the last seventy years’ debates you can still … Read More

By / February 23, 2007

If you haven’t had the chance to attend the original Latke Hamantaschen Debate at the University of Chicago, well, that’s sad for you, because it’s brilliant. But if you’ve missed any of the last seventy years’ debates you can still buy the book, which is pretty sweet. I bring this up because I made hamantaschen last night, and I feel strongly that my particular recipe is Divinely inspired. Hamantaschen and hummus are pretty much the reason I believe in God. But just for the sake of argument let’s assume your hamantaschen are the dry crumbly kind and are void of all inspiration. Are you going to write them off entirely as just one of those dumb things Jews make because we like an excuse to make sweets? Well first of all, we probably didn’t come up with it on our own. There’s a Swedish Cookie that’s eerily similar, called Napoleon’s Hat. Were the cookies around before Napoleon? How far back do Hamantaschen go? I have no idea, and I just spent 45 minutes looking for an academic article about it on ProQuest to no avail. But if you are looking for some spiritual backing for hamantaschen look no further than this article from Aish titled, “The Deeper Meaning of Hamentaschen.” The accompanying graphic is a hamentaschen in outer space. Deep space, one assumes. Heavy. I don’t have any particularly exciting graphics, but I do have a Jewish food theory. First of all, food is holy in any form. I mean, we have to say blessings and everything, so we know that we have to have a certain respect for what we eat. And on Purim in particular we’re supposed to give each other little packages of food and then come together for a big feast. Food is a reasonable way for us to share and come together. And yeah, we’ve got some wacky ideas about how our cookies are related to the holiday, but ultimately just making food and sitting down together…Well, that ends up being pretty spiritual. Unless you have those dry crumbly hamantaschen, in which case you probably hate God. So in the name of Kiddush Hashem (making God look good) here’s my recipe: 1 cup OJ 1 cup margarine 1 1/2 cup sugar 2 egg yolks 1/2 t vanilla 1/2 t lemon extract 6 c flower 2 t baking soda Combine butter and sugar, add egg yolks, OJ, vanilla and lemon. Mix and add dry ingredients. Roll out dough and using biscuit cutters or the edge of a can make circles of dough. In each circle spoon a half teaspoon or so of your topping of choice. Traditionally there are poppy seed, strawberry, raspberry, apricot, and occasionally chocolate. (I believe prune hamantaschen are the work of the devil, but suit yourself). Pinch the corners in three places so that you have a triangle shaped cookie with walls that hold in the filling. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 for 15 minutes. Put your feet up, and eat the fruits of your labor while watching The Chosen and drinking a Sepharadi. Congratulate yourself for being so Jewish.