Thursday, March 09, 2006

Queen For A Day

Purim is a strange holiday. We celebrate with noise, and rich food, and drinking. It’s a time of total joy. And in almost the same moment, we’re supposed to remember a time of great fear, and how close we can come to losing everything. It’s a day of contradictions.

It’s also a very feminine holiday. Every year at this time we read from the book of Esther, which is the only book of the Torah which is named for a woman. Unless you count Ruth. But Ruth was always the shy type, quietly threshing and sleeping at people’s feet. If she were around today, she’d be the one standing in the back row of class pictures in a hand-me-down grey cardigan, trying to disappear. The girl who ate paste. Her book was probably a pity-book.

In Esther we're presented with the stories of two queens, Esther, and before her, Vashti. Each has a very different story to tell. Esther was the “good” queen, the chosen queen, with yellow feathers in her hair and her dress cut down to there. Vashti, on the other hand, was rebellious to Ahashuerus, the king. She came and she gave without taking [her clothes off]. But he sent her away [to her death]. The Hebrew leaves more questions than answers. Is the story simply a good girl / bad girl thing? Or an exploration of what it means to be a wife?

Sometimes I feel like I’m living parallel lives. There’s the me who spends her day coding, then comes home to my husband, and my stepkids, and my dogs. The “good” me. And then there’s the other me, the one who shaves my head, puts on a leotard and paints myself in Pantone Blue #2746 as a member of Blue Man Group. It’s a dichotomy. Am I a better spouse when I come home to Ted after holding a mouse than I am after a long night beating a timpani with a mallet?

I think this year, after the last batch of blueberry hamantaschen come out of the oven, I’m going to try something new. Instead of sending them to all the people I know as gifts from myself and my family, I’ll write on the tags that they’ll be gifts from me. From both of me.

NotMirty’s Special Hamentaschen Recipe:

7 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup milk (use rice milk for pareve cookies)
3 eggs
1 small can of blueberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F .

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

Mix in shortening. Once the shortening is well blended, stir almond
flavoring and milk into the dough at the same time, followed by eggs.

Roll out dough onto a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin. Roll the dough thick. Cut out circles and fill with pie fillings (or other fillings), then fold into triangles.
Arrange on cookie sheet to allow for 25% expansion

Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, or just until bottom is golden.

Smash with a hammer against a white wall, to the sounds of Frank Zappa’s “Jazz From Hell”


Blogger Mirty said...

Fantastic! They came out great!

11:13 AM  
Blogger Mirty said...

And then there’s the other me, the one who shaves my head, puts on a leotard and paints myself in Pantone Blue #2746 as a member of Blue Man Group

You had me at Hello.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

NotMirty: You are hilarious!

Great work - kudos kudos kudos (and add in an aroooga for good measure)

5:36 PM  
Blogger Chandira said...


Mirty, what flattery, huh?
Though I prefer the real you..

2:09 PM  

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