Feb 20, 2012

A Celebration of Women at Purim

My family is populated with strong Jewish women who are incredible cooks. Family gatherings are always centered on a feast whipped up according to the occasion.

This strong tradition our family holds for good food has created many wonderful recipes; one of my personal favorites is our Hamentashen recipe (I have yet to find a competitor). My family has passed this recipe down through several generations and along with it the traditional gathering of the women in our family to make Hamentaschen.

Our annual Hamentaschen get-togethers has always been something I look forward to. My grandmother, aunts, and cousins all come together armed with massive amounts of cooking utensils, ingredients, and accessories. There’s always a quibble between the cousins over the best looking apron.
As a young child it was also the time where the youngest of the family (my sister and I) got to mingle with the adults and show off our baking skills; creating lumpy, misshapen triangles oozing with filling that were praised as glorious masterpieces.
We spend the day chatting about family history. My mother and her sister teasingly fill in the gaps on their childhood. The conversation always turns to their hopes for their children, my generation. It’s an oddly deep conversation to have while covered in flour and sticky dough, but it’s tradition.

Our tradition also signifies the coming of spring; a transition of sorts to mark the coming of warm sunshine, and change. It is a warm occasion that continues to this day despite alterations as cousins have moved away and the grand matriarch of the family, my grandmother, is now 97 and has passed the hamentashen mantle to her daughters.
Purim commemorates the bravery of Esther, a female defender of the Jewish people. It’s fitting that my memories of Purim are marked by my own strong Jewish women.

--Jennifer Bjork

What family traditions for Purim do you have and wish to pass on to your children?   

Check out Kar-Ben Publishing’s Heirloom Cookbook
Purim titles at www.karben.com

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