Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Why the word Hamentashen Makes me Smile

My friend Harvey wrote in his Facebook status today that he'd been making vast quantities of hamentashen -- a pastry that's traditionally eaten at the Jewish holiday of Purim. This always makes me think of my college band friend Liz Neblett, the font of oh so many of my college anecdotes. I figured I'd share, just as if I'm a doddering old alum at a reunion and you have to be polite.

As an important bit of background, here is a relatively recent picture of me and Liz:

I suppose in reality we're both of us looking our middle-aged selves (Liz is two weeks older than me, as I remind her on a yearly basis), but I see this picture and I see the exact same face I saw over thirty years ago.

Many of Liz's college friends were super-nerdy study-anxious types, but not Liz. During reading period, when the whole campus seemed to be holed up in the library in a study panic, Liz would bake cookies and sneak them into the library to distribute to her friends.

One year, around Purim, Liz made hamentashen to give to her Jewish friends, and I had the good fortune to be with her when she was giving them away. It was very funny, because everybody would express amazement. "Wow! Hamentashen! Where did you learn to make hamantashen!" Liz would reply, with such a straight face that you couldn't read a subtext, "My grandmother worked for a Jewish family."

That's pretty funny all on its own, but even funnier because people weren't sure if she was being serious, or funny, or mocking. Mostly they thought she was being serious.

After I witnessed two or three of these exchanges Liz looked at me and said, with a shake of her head, "Where did I learn to make them? I found the recipe in a cookbook."

A cookbook. Indeed. Who could imagine such a thing?
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