Magic Jewball

all signs point to no

 

God save the Queen

Filed under : Judaism
On March 2, 2007
At 12:30 am
Comments : 12

As promised in the post 3 centimeters below this one, it’s time to talk about Purim, the holiday beginning this Saturday night. I feel a little bittersweet as this is the last holiday in the cycle before I start repeating myself, as my blog began around Passover last year. But, I’m not actually allowed to feel bittersweet or bitteranything because I’m commanded to be happy not only on this holiday but for the whole freaking month. Don’t worry, that will not keep me from ranting about things that irritate me. And actually, since we’re talking about the Jewish month, it’s already half over anyway.

OK, so Purim, what’s it all about? Thanks for asking! Purim follows the general rule of any Jewish holiday which is, “they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.” Added to this, we’re also ordered to drink. Coincidentally, I get more “gosh, I wish I were Jewish” remarks around this holiday than at any other time, I have no idea why. But, the story of Purim is actually pretty interesting, and should you not have read the Megillah of Esther lately, what’s stopping you? Even atheists would like it because God’s never mentioned. But here are the Cliff’s Notes in case you left your copy in your other purse (or man-purse, nothing wrong with that).

Long ago and far away in Persia (that’s Iran now, lucky thing that the place has been so quiet since all this transpired) there lived a king named Ahashverosh who dumped his Queen because she gave him attitude (oooh, no you dint!). Because The Bachelor and Flavor of Love didn’t yet exist, he sent his ministers around to find the hottest skirts in the land and bring them over to his crib to get the royal look-see. Long story short, he picked Esther who happened to be Jewish. Esther’s Uncle Mordechai who had adopted her hung around the palace gate to chill and keep an eye on things.

Haman, the King’s right-hand man, got pissed off because Mordechai wouldn’t bow down to him (as a Jew, he only bowed to God). Naturally, this meant all the Jews had to go. Isn’t that the only solution to the world’s problems that anyone can come up with? When Haman told the King his hot idea, Ahashverosh, not caring very much one way or another, said, “sure, you do your thang.” Shockingly, Esther felt a little differently about it. She gave a feast just for Ahashverosh and Haman. Haman was psyched! Then, at the feast, she said, “Sweetie, someone’s trying to kill me. No really. And all my people too.” The King was all like, “Holy fuck, who would dare?” and just like one of those courtroom dramas, Esther pointed at Haman and said, “That guy. The one cringing in terror right about now.” Ahashverosh was so furious that he had to walk out. That’s when Haman made his big mistake and fell all over Esther to beg for mercy. Then the King walked back in. Awk-ward!

To sum up, Haman got hung on a tree, the Jews smited their enemies, and we get to party. There’s a lot* I’m leaving out, obviously, but I have a lot of baking to do. About that. So the main rules of Purim are as follows:
1. Hear the Megillah read (my synopsis doesn’t count).
2. Get drunk enough to not be able to tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman (I’m all over this one).
3. Give packages of sweets to your friends and neighbors.
4. Give gifts to the poor.

I think 2 and 4 are actually reversed there. Oh well. Anyway, it’s traditional in my family to never serve or give anyone any food item that you didn’t make yourself and so, as my mother did, I make as many kinds of cookies as I possibly can. That usually means about four. I had a last minute switch in the line-up as a friend told me that my assortment was sorely lacking in chocolate. And so, I dedicate this picture to her.


Speaking of bittersweet, these are all the kinds of chocolate I’ll be using in my various recipes plus (on the bottom right) a bag of mini-chocolate bars from Israel to put in the package as well. You can click to enlarge but I don’t have tastablog yet. I’ll try to get in some pictures of the finished products on Sunday if I’m still alive. If I’m not, bury me with the chocolate.



* Get it, a lot? Oh hahahahahahaha! Oh right, I should explain. Purim means lots, as in Haman chose lots to figure out what day he should kill all the Jews. Yeah, still not all that funny.



The Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen (Live)

 

12 Comments for this post

 
Alex says

1. Hear the Megillah read (my synopsis doesn’t count).

This one can actually take a long, long time. Really gives you an appreciation of what people mean when they talk about “the whole Megillah.”

(Except that if you live in, say, Hot Springs, Arkansas, you probably don’t know a lot of people who say “the whole Megillah.”)

 
Julia says

I have a question. Can you make hamantaschen in good flavors? I realize the subjectivity of my question, and it’s been many moons since I did any Purim celebrating myself. But I remember a lot of prune. Now, some people must actually like the prune if they are making them. Those people might even be you. But my personal recipe vote is for chocolate. And then you mailing them to me.

 
MonkeyGirl says

That’s me! I’m the chocolate friend! MonkeyGirl! I feel blogalicious!

~happy dance~

 
Becca says

Alex, it’s still shorter than baking for an army.

Julia, you sure can! I have no idea how the whole prune/poppyseed thing got started (bleah) but I only make mine in raspberry. Once I tried chocolate/raspberry but they didn’t come out well. The chocolate ones I’ve seen also don’t seem to turn out well.

MonkeyGirl outed herself! Yes, she was the one who told me I needed more chocolate in my world. And who doesn’t?

 
mb says

Gosh, I love this blog.

But I keep thinking of Magilla Gorilla. Is that wrong?

 
Sarpon says

Someone who shall remain nameless (serious, she sent me a hamantaschen recipe but did not reveal her first name) suggested using cherry, apricot, and poppy pastry filling, in addition to prune. Sadly, after visiting five stores, I have not been able to find canned pastry filling and so I resorted to Googling recipes for hamantaschen filling. It seems you can fill them with almost anything, including chocolate fillings and Nutella.

I still haven’t started baking anything. I have hopes for apple and maybe even pineapple hamentaschen and toll house cookies if I find better pain meds in the back of the kitchen pharmacopia.

 
Becca says

MB, thanks. And having read your comment just before logging off yesterday, I have now endured 24 hours of “We’ve got a gorilla for sale….” in my head.

Sarpon, perhaps, like MG, she will out herself here. In any case, yes, you can make them any flavor you like, but somehow everyone sticks with prune, poppyseed, and occasionally apricot (which I also hate). Silly people. I think Nutella would work but the reason chocolate never seems to on the ones I’ve seen is that the bakers obviously used chocolate chips and they maintained their integrity and didn’t melt into one. I would have liked something smoother and softer. A ganache would work better.

I haven’t started either but I did nap for 5 hours today so the all night bake-athon ought to go swimmingly. Feel better.

/end Baking Blog with Becca

 
KP says

I thought Magilla Gorilla too.

And I also thought “is the whole Megillah like the whole enchilada?”

And I also thought anything that involves smiting one’s enemies and chocolate might make me happy all month too. Enjoy Bec!

 
Lydia says

As “someone who lives in, say, [another state's equivalent of] Hot Springs, Arkansas, you probably don’t know a lot of people who say “the whole Megillah.”

I thank you for this informational post.

What about a strawberry filling? I’m not a chocolate girl.

 
Becca says

Thanks, KP!

Lydia, strawberry would work swell, I’m sure.

And yes, this is where that expression comes from! Next week, I’ll tell you from where “the writing’s on the wall” derives. Tune in to J-Ball.

 
Ima Wurdibitsch says

Now I know what Purim is! Oh, and I made LOTS (hee!) of cookies and gave some of them away. Okay, well, it’s more like I made them and there are people staying at my house who are also eating them.

Later this week, I’m making a pear clafoutis. Someday, I’ll learn how to say, ‘clafoutis’ but until then I’ll probably just tell them it’s YUMMY PEAR DESSERT.

That was such a great story. I liked it a bunch.

 
Becca says

Thanks!

But clafoutis sounds dirty.

Clafoutis.

~snortle~