Sunday, 28 February 2021

For Purim: Hamantaschen Meets Cancel Culture

More on the 'cancelling' of recipes, which I posted about here. Is there no end to the insanity!? Please, make it stop! It hurts my mind!

From Neo

An alert reader sent me this, and I have to say it’s one of the more depressing and yet funny things I’ve read in a long time. It’s not the Babylon Bee, either. It seems that Orwell’s Minitrue has taken on the task of rewriting recipe history.

Yes, food articles about recipes. The particular example given is a recipe for hamantaschen, the Purim cookie (the Jewish holiday starts tomorrow evening) that has symbolic meaning but basically tends to sound better than it is. The original article was entertaining; the expurgated culturally-approved one reads like the boring history textbooks I recall from my youth.

Here’s an excerpt from the original, now apparently disappeared down Winston Smith’s memory hole:

Full disclosure: I am not Jewish. But as someone who attended roughly three Bar or Bat Mitzvahs a weekend during 1992, and as someone who cooks professionally, I thought I could at least weigh in on the Jewish cookie department.

Hamantaschen are a triangular-shaped cookie made to commemorate the Jewish celebration of Purim. The story of Purim involves a bad guy, Haman, a nice Jewish lady, Esther, and her ultimate victory over his plot to destroy the Jewish people. Hamantaschen are shaped to resemble Haman’s 3-cornered hat and traditionally stuffed with sweet fillings made of poppy seeds, dried fruits, or fruit preserves (among others). Sounds tasty, right? But upon reflection, Jews and non-Jews alike on the BA staff could only call up childhood memories of dry and sandy hamantaschen that left your mouth coated with a weird film. “The filling was the thing that you thought might save it, but there was never enough,” says assistant editor Amiel Stanek. “And when you did get to the center, it was jam all the way up to the top,” senior editor Meryl Rothstein chimes in. Point being, it was an imbalanced cookie experience.

So I set out to convert the haters.

The new approved version, whisked away by Winston’s pneumatic tube to be placed in the archives (until displaced in the next purge):

Editor’s note 2/10/2021: The original version of this article included language that was insensitive toward Jewish food traditions and does not align with our brand’s standards. As part of our Archive Repair Project, we have edited the headline, dek, and content to better convey the history of Purim and the goals of this particular recipe. We apologize for the previous version’s flippant tone and stereotypical characterizations of Jewish culture.

Hamantaschen are a triangle-shaped cookie made during the Jewish festival of Purim, a holiday that commemorates Esther’s victory over Haman and his plot to destroy the Jewish people. Hamantaschen are shaped to resemble Haman’s 3-cornered hat and traditionally stuffed with sweet fillings made of poppy seeds, dried fruits, or fruit preserves (among others). Sounds tasty, right? But achieving the right balance is not always easy to pull off.

These literary and cultural revisionists are crazy, and they’re everywhere these days.

Don’t let them know it – but Purim is a holiday that might trigger some Iranians into feeling bad.

[NOTE: By the way, what’s with the constant use of the word “pneumatic” in dystopian novels of the first half of the 20th Century? The Minitrue of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four used a transport system described that way, and Huxley’s Brave New World kept describing well-endowed women and cushiony chairs as “pneumatic.”]

[NOTE II: I actually haven’t had much traditionally Jewish food in my lifetime. But “dry and sandy” actually does describe nearly every Jewish dessert I’ve ever had, with the exception of this yummy stuff – particularly the version made at Rein’s Deli in Vernon, Connecticut.]

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