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Purim: You Are Who You Eat

March 4, 2012 | by Perry Block

In honor of Purim, I would like to broaden this whole Eating our Enemy custom.

It’s oft been said that most Jewish holidays have three basic components:

  1. Our enemies came to destroy us.
  2. We prevailed.
  3. Let’s eat.

There is one Jewish holiday, however, that adds the following additional point of order to our primary list of three:

4) Let’s eat them!

It’s a curious custom to celebrate triumph over an enemy by eating an article of his clothing.

That holiday, of course, is the upcoming festival of Purim, in which we celebrate the victory of the Jewish people over the evil Royal Vizier Haman in Persia about 400 BCE by eating his tri-cornered hat. But as delicious as hamantashen are, it seems kind of a curious custom to celebrate triumph over one’s enemy by scarfing down an article of his clothing, no matter how mouth-watering yummy the hat may be with a cherry filling.

Is it simply a way of “rubbing it in”; that is, consuming Haman’s hat after first stretching his neck? In that case, why just his hat? If we really want to show we’ve kicked the imperial keyster, why not his raincoat, briefcase, and car keys as well?

But what doesn’t make sense to me is that Haman is already dead! Wouldn’t it make better sense to eat the hat off of one of our enemies who’s still alive and kicking? I for one would love to eat Mahmoud Ahmadinijad’s New York Yankee’s sombrero.

According to some sources, we’re actually not eating Haman’s hat at all. We’re eating the ears off the side of his head! That’s even less appealing, considering they had no Q-tips back in Persia circa 400 BCE. And I’m guessing my buddy Mahmoud’s personal hygiene habits aren’t stellar. Just a hunch.

In honor of Purim, I would like to broaden the Eating our Enemy custom. Here’s but a few of the body parts, personal effects, and memorabilia of other foes of the Jewish people that may soon be finding their way onto your table if I have anything to say about it:

The Yul Brynner/Pharaoh Cheese Basket --- Pharaoh is the quintessential villain of the Holy Scriptures, and to most of us, actor Yul Brynner is the physical embodiment of that villain. With no disrespect to the late legendary actor, the mouth-watering Yul Brynner/Pharaoh Cheese and Crackers Basket has arrived!

The basket is graced with sculpted cheese figures of Yul as Pharaoh in his most memorable action poses from the movie “The Ten Commandments,” including the “Sound the Pursuit” Parmigiana, “God of Moses is a Poor General” Gorgonzola, and “His God is God” Gouda. A plague on all ten of your houses if you don’t enjoy!

Grand Mufti Marshmallows --- The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem did his utmost to keep Jews from immigrating to Palestine, all the time sporting a headdress that rose so high above his head it looked like it was doing push-ups. So what could be more appropriate for your snacking pleasure than super fluffy Grand Mufti Marshmallows?

Imagine watching Grand Mufti Marshmallows roasting and over a campfire.

Just imagine your satisfaction watching Grand Mufti Marshmallows roasting and crackling over an open campfire! That is, assuming there are any Jews around who know how to make a campfire.

Henry Ford Crankshaft Cookies--- Though times have certainly changed at the company he founded, Henry Ford was a cantankerous old coot who was no friend of the Jews. Now eat the cranky crackpot’s crankcase with new Henry Ford Crankcase Cookies, each one shaped in the form of that aforementioned engine component as manufactured for the least successful car ever built by Ford Motor Company, the Edsel. Sure to sell lots better than the Edsel itself!

Mel Gibson Pound Cake --- The newest Jewish confection is a large pound cake with reviews of Mel Gibson’s most recent movies chiselled into the top. Reviews of the motion picture The Beaver are highlighted at center.

Sadly I’ve heard that Mel Gibson Pound Cake is rather dry and tasteless. That’s a shame, but it’s still worse for Mel than for us.

He’s got to eat his actual reviews.

So my message to any future enemies of the Jewish people: think twice. You might end up a sumptuous snack.


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