“We’re flummoxed,” admitted lead researcher Adi Loyada.
Jerusalem, February 20 – Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science voiced bafflement today at the healthy sales of traditional cookies and pastries in honor of the Purim holiday, noting that no one has ever observed a normal human actually consuming them.
With the holiday approaching next week – Wednesday night-Thursday most places, and Thursday night-Friday in Jerusalem – bakeries and kitchens around the world have begun producing hamantaschen, a cookie made from a circle of dough folded into a triangle around a filling. Field researchers managed to find a handful of instances in which a sane human voluntarily ate hamantaschen with reasonable filling such as chocolate, but confessed their inability to locate any individuals in their samples whom they could observe eating hamantaschen with fruit or poppy-seed-paste filling.
“We’re flummoxed,” admitted lead researcher Adi Loyada. “It remains a mystery why these things even sell, year after year, and why home kitchens keep producing them. I know in my house, whatever hamantashcen arrive as part of the food packages we receive on Purim end up either stuffed into an outgoing package or sit around uneaten until we have to clean for Passover.”
The origin of the hamantasch is obscure. The version of the food most common in Israel uses a cookie-like dough, rolled flat and cut into circles, into which a dollop of filling is placed. The edges are folded up along three chords of the circle, creating a pouch, or “tasch” in Yiddish. Elsewhere, a more pastry-like yeast dough is used, producing a hamantasch more akin to a danish in texture, but no less mysterious to researchers in its appeal, if any.
“Scholars differ on the likely origin of the association with Purim,” explained Vi Zata, a food historian. “In Jewish folklore it’s associated with the hat, ears, or some other characteristic of the Purim story villain Haman. Some even point to the similarity of ‘mohn-taschen,’ poppy-seed pockets, to hamantaschen and a bit of possible wordplay, but that doesn’t make them edible. Especially the ones with citrus in the dough. What the hell are people thinking?”
Despite not finding anyone who actually eats hamantaschen, the researchers intend to pursue their study. “Remember, there are folks out there who eat lutefisk, haggis, trotters, and all manner of weird seafood,” stressed Loyada. “Not to mention Marmite, and pineapple pizza. Shouldn’t be that difficult to find some rational person, somewhere, who can explain why anyone would want to eat hamantaschen.”
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