Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Not your bubba's hamantaschen

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!


  1. Inspired by our trip to Ecuador (where they love their cheese), I insisted that we make Mozzarella filled Hamentashen this year. Out of the oven, they were tasty! The next day, not so much. Red bean would be fun to try (and taste much better the next day).

    As to the first part of your story, you've got to hand it to kids: when something doesn't match up to their expectations, they just ask away. I don't read that as a bad thing, just as them sorting the world out. You did a good thing expanding this kids view of the world.

    1. Hi Ben. Next year I think I'll try cardamom and coconut. 1 exotic flavor per year, but I'm not sure hamantaschen cheese is for us either. :P

      Yeah...I wanted to engage the kid a bit more, but the guardian was standing right next to her and I didn't want to cross my boundaries. It's always good to leave a kid with a simmering question anyway. That's the teacher in me speaking.