Happy weekend! Shabbat shalom! And happy Purim!
Purim is a Jewish holiday and starts tonight, and goes into Sunday. Esther is the central hero of the story due to her strength of character, determination, and expert political lobbying. The root of her name means “hiddenness,” and it isn’t even her birth name. To save herself and her people, she sheds her name, Hadas, and becomes disguised as Esther. The whole story is one of hidden miracles – God doesn’t appear in the story with lightning strikes and thunder claps, but miracles happen through the hard work, risk, and bravery of good people. Oh, and a little bit of luck!
In times like these of political turmoil and bombastic shows of force, it is easy to overlook the quiet, hidden, human miracles. The safeguarding of knowledge in the face of violence and ignorance. The rebuilding of what was broken and defiled. Unity in the face of vile discord. Resistance through love for the stranger.
But how does this apply to insanely rich vegan hamantaschen cookies? Dang, just get to the recipe already!
Last week I brought you the recipe for damn perfect vegan hamantaschen – simple, sweet, and majorly flavorful, and I promised to share the butter version. Here they are in all their buttery, flaky, tender glory!
My mother’s hamantaschen are the stuff of legend, delicate and flavorful. They stand in stark contrast to the mass-manufactured, gritty, crumbly, rock-hard pucks that circulated at childhood Purim parties. I love a food challenge – tinkering with a beloved recipe to make it accessible to everyone! So, in an effort to create a recipe worthy of Queen Esther’s Vegan Feast and my beloved vegan friends, I entered the world of mashed bananas, margarine, and egg replacements. I emerged victorious, and with a shockingly popular Instagram post as motivation, I find myself returning to this happy blog.
This year for Thanksgiving, I have a round-up of poignant stories, timely anecdotes, and Thanksgiving recipes in the flavors of the world. First up? My first memories of this, most welcoming of American holidays.
My first Thanksgiving was in first grade. As I have mentioned before, my family are immigrants who never really adopted Thanksgiving, so my school experience was absolutely formative. Together, newly arrived and American-born, white, black, and asian, Russian and Israeli, we learned about Thanksgiving. We churned our own butter, and ate it on cornbread, listened to the child-friendly version of the Thanksgiving story and watched Molly’s Pilgrim, as short film based on a book written by a Russian Jewish immigrant. To this day, just thinking of the film makes me tear up – the bullying, the loneliness, and the eventual realization that her family are also part of Thanksgiving. The moral of the story is that there are pilgrims in every generation, coming to the United States in search of freedom and a better life. And that together, all of us – immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and Native Americans – are what makes America great.