Tag Archives: New York Times

Purim Cookie: Haman’s Ears

They go by many names – and many spellings – but the Jewish festival of Purim has one standout sweet treat in this cookie.

Hamantaschen are triange-shaped cookies that can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as poppy seeds, prunes, dates, apricots, or even chocolate.

They get their name from the villain of the Purim story, Haman, who convinced the king of Persian to allow the murder of all the Jewish people in his kingdom. The Jewish people were saved by Esther, the king’s wife, who was also Jewish, although the king did not know this until she bravely came forward.

Here’s a recipe from JewishRecipes.org that you might like to try.

There are so many ways to make these cookies that the possibilities for filling, folding, and displaying them are nearly endless. Here are some ideas to get you started.

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I also found a great article in the New York Times about one woman’s history with Hamantaschen, and her quest to make the “perfect” Purim cookie. You might enjoy reading it here.

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Find Endangered World Languages in NYC

I thought this was a fascinating article in the New York Times about how many of the world’s endangered languages are likely spoken within the confines of New York City.

It is amazing to think about how that city has been and remains a magnetic force for people and cultures around the world.

“Dying Languages, Found in New York” introduced me to languages and places I had never heard of; if you get a chance, definitely check it out.

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Die Neuen Cupcakes, Thanks to McDonald’s

I confess that Europe’s controversial foray into the world of cupcakes was not on my radar until I read this New York Times article, “In Germany, A Taste of New York, Via McDonald’s.”

It appears that McDonald’s has introduced cupcakes to Germany via four very pretty (but not so tasty) versions that are supposed to exemplify four areas of New York City (Chelsea, SoHo, Central Park, East Village, below, left to right).

The tie-in is intended to echo the cupcake references from “Sex and the City,” and NYC’s cupcake craze which is best exemplified by the Magnolia Bakery’s popularity. Their cupcakes range from $2.75 to $3.25 (makes that $4 box of Girl Scout cookies look like a bargain).

But the crazy thing to me is that I never even considered that Europeans didn’t eat cupcakes. Knowing the global dominance of doughnuts, I guess I just assumed that every culture that produced cakes would also jump to the logical conclusion of making that cake smaller, more adorable, and therefore invisible to calories.

Boy, was I wrong. Not only that, apparently Europeans – who have only “known” cupcakes for a few years now – are already fed up with them!

Salon.com explored the phenomenon in this article, “Europe’s Cupcake Backlash Begins.” Apparently, the problem with cupcakes is their:

“. . . culture of frivolousness, artificial domesticity and fetishistic cuteness.”

Compounding the problem? Cupcakes are so small, no one has to share them, leading to a general selfishness.

Let me just interject here that as one of four children and the mother of a six-year old, I have DEFINITELY had to share a cupcake or two in my time. In fact, I have had to share a grape before. So I doubt that cupcakes’ size are the problem.

According to Laura Atkinson, who wrote, “Enough With the Cupcakes, Already,” for the Sunday Times of London, cupcakes are really just “the gourmet equivalent of mutton dressed as lamb.”

That is writing you have got to love.

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A First Family That Looks Like America

diverse190In my family, we speak English, French, Spanish, and at least three African languages.  Our surnames are German, Italian, Puerto Rican, and West African.  We are often accused of being the familial equivalent of the United Nations.

On January 20, our country  – and our family – got a new vision of what our nation’s First Family looks like and it’s one that mirrors my family’s experience.  This article about the Obamas’ in the New York Times illustrates how America is changing – from Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.  

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