A few weeks ago, I took my oldest to a playdate with her best friend at an indoor playground. While taking a break at the water fountain, one kid around the age of 8, approached me and asked me if I was Mexican. I said no. She proceeded to ask if I was Chinese. I smiled and said no, and was wondering if she was going to continue with her guessing game. At this point, Tamar hugged me. The girls eyes widened, and she incredulously asked, “That’s your daughter?!” I said yes, and admittedly, a bit annoyed by the question. She ended her prying with: “Is she adopted?” I simply said no, and left her to her confusion. I mean, did it really matter if the answer was “yes” to any of her questions? But that lesson was not mine to teach.
It’s been a few weeks since that happened, but I still find myself wondering if I’m teaching my kids enough about diversity and tolerance. I certainly hope so. With their blue eyes and my youngest’s light hair, neither one of them look like me nor my husband, but they are half-Filipino. While we don’t eat rice 3x a day, you’d find us celebrating Shabbat with dishes I grew up with – noodles, soy-sauce stewed chicken, and lumpia. It’s a bicultural home.
With one of the most joyous Jewish holiday coming up, I realized that the story of Purim is about opening ones eyes and embracing diversity. So, I thought it appropriate to celebrate my bicultural kids on this holiday. In keeping with the time-honored holiday custom, I baked Purim's ultimate pastry symbol, hamantaschen. But this time, I used 2 different fillings - the traditional poppyseed, which my husband loves, and my homemade red bean filling. Yes, that's the kind that you normally find as filling in mooncakes, rice cakes, and hopia. It's the very same azuki beans (a.k.a. pulang munggo in Tagalog) that I found during the summer market.
The verdict? YUM. The kids actually preferred the bean over the poppyseed filling! (as long as I don't call it "bean", and used "azuki" or "hopia" instead. As a bonus, since there's leftover poppy seed filling, I made some yummy poppyseed cheesecake with lemon curd glaze. Happy Purim!