Purim: Plays & Hamentaschen!

My friend Marla invited me over for lunch. “Come for blintzes,” adding she had some pitted jarred cherries from the Russian store and sour cream.   I happily ate the blintzes, a cheese-filled crepe popular in Jewish cooking.

Knowing Marla’s busy life, I doubted hers would be homemade, though she is an excellent cook and might have taken the challenge.

Out of a box, fried in a pan, served with a dollop of sour cream and the cherries, they were yummy. I told her how my mother used to make them from scratch, making a thin dough of eggs, flour and milk, and gently frying the pancake, filling it with a mixture of dry cottage and farmer cheeses, folding up the blintzes, wrapping the edges like a small present, then refrying the entire thing lightly.

Like so many of traditional Jewish dishes, homemade blintzes are considered in Yiddish a “potchka,” a bit of a mess, and also a big production. I often wonder how my grandmothers made all the dishes that require hours and hours of attention, all without the assistance of a food processor.

I was facing an afternoon in the kitchen myself so was happy to have a lunch invitation.

Next week is Purim; the holiday that celebrates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. King Achasverosh announces a contest to find a new bride and summons all the eligible women to the palace. He selects Esther, who lives with her Uncle Mordecai. Esther doesn’t tell the king that she’s Jewish. Meanwhile, Haman, the king’s evil advisor, convinces the king to annihilate the Jews because they don’t follow all the laws of the kingdom. He’s particularly mad at Mordecai who refused to bow down to him in public.  When Esther hears of Haman’s plan, she appeals to the king on behalf of the Jewish people, putting her own life at risk.  Achasverosh listens and orders Haman hanged.

The holiday includes plays and costumes, and food, particularly Hamentaschen, a triangular filled cookie that represents Haman’s three-cornered hat. I fill mine mostly with poppy seed; however anything from apple butter to chocolate can be used. I’ll freeze them until next week when I’ll bring them to friends and family.

Hamentaschen made (strawberry for the non-poppy eaters), I now have to find a costume and might try my hand at writing the Purim spiel—a retelling of the story in play form where everyone gets a part.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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7 Responses to Purim: Plays & Hamentaschen!

  1. Oh, I love the idea of writing it like a play Lisa! The celebration reminds me a little of Thanksgiving celebrations but the food you describe for Purim sounds delicious. Happy Purim! ❤
    Diana xo

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  2. I love how you share tradition so beautifully. ❤

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  3. susanissima says:

    Delightful! Thank you for sharing these rich traditions, Lisa. Now, I need to go find a sweet treat! ❤

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  4. madtaylor says:

    I really want to make Hamantaschen, I do have a snow day afteral, but only I will eat them…of course, I could bring them to school where my co-workers will appreciate them greatly.

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  5. Reflections says:

    Lisa, thank you for this informative piece!

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  6. Your Hamentrashen look devine. If I am feeling well, i’ll attempt blintzes, one of these days. i bake them rather than refry. Less apt to get heartburn, because they are cooked evenly and thoroughly. Costume for Purim? You made a beautiful Qeen Esther at Nathan and Karen’s party, two years ago

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  7. thatssojacob says:

    Almost hamantaschen time!

    Like

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