With Purim approaching, hamantaschen are rising from their holiday hibernation to re-enter Jewish kitchens and bakeries. These A-list Jewish cookies, historically filled with poppy seeds to represent Queen Esther’s limited kosher diet in the kingdom of Persia, are now commonly stuffed with everything from melted gummy worms to French onion soup.
The hamantasch’s primary claim to fame, however, is its archetypical triangular shape, representative of Haman’s hat and the Jewish people’s victory over yet another potential oppressor. Hamantasch literally translates to “Haman pocket,” and there is absolutely nothing the Jewish people love more than symbolically eating their enemies.
But if the hamantasch’s distinctive feature is its shape, why not welcome other triangular foods into the Purim canon? Here is a list of foods I argue should be Purim iconography.
1. Candy Corn
I absolutely hate when people refer to Purim as “Jewish Halloween.” Avoiding extinction at the hands of an evil dictator is way spookier than any haunted house, and Purim is way more fun than Halloween. That said, candy corn is famously triangular and thus would fit perfectly into the Purim cuisine profile.
2. One single piece of pizza
This assumes you’re cutting a round pizza the triangular way, which of course you are. You’re not a monster. Let pizza into the Purim carnival! What are we waiting for?
Purim needs a chip! Doritos are the ideal Purim chip because they are so addicting that you can never have just one, representing the good and greed of King Ahasuerus. He continued throwing parties and meeting wives and eventually came around and helped the Jews not all die. Good and bad! Just like a Dorito.
Watch out, Doritos. Bugles are coming for your throne as the official triangular chip of Purim. Much like Haman was coming for Ahashuerus’s throne as supreme leader of Persia. So you see the symbolism.
5. Tortilla chips
Okay fine, Purim can have several chips. Tortilla chips are triangular and sharp and it is entirely possibly to crunch into one with all the passion of crunching into Haman’s hat. They might retaliate by scratching up the roof of your mouth, but you’ll still be the one eating them in the end.
6. A cartoonish piece of cheese
In the cartoon version of Purim, the cheese would be shaped like a big old triangle with holes in it and a little mouse named Mordechai would be lugging the cheese around and taking adorable little bites out of it. Happy Purim from Mordechai.
Purim is the only Jewish holiday not heavy with potatoes. Samosas are the perfect triangular potato pocket for splitting time between booing Haman and eating carbs.
Fill a triangular pita pocket with hummus and falafel and you’ve essentially got an Israeli hamantasch that will keep you full for hours. We already have a Jewish holiday where we can’t eat any bread, so we should be doing all we can to make the other springtime holidays as bread-forward as possible.
Strawberries represent the heroes of Purim, like Esther and Mordechai and of course Vashti, who stood their ground with the underlying sourness of a strawberry in order to gain the juicy sweetness of liberation from sexual and religious discrimination. No, this is not a stretch, what are you talking about?
10. Ice cream cones
It’s cheating only slightly to call cones triangles, but they are at a minimum the grandchild of the triangle. I think a scoop of ice cream sitting daintily on a waffle cone is pristine Purim cuisine. Sure, include dairy-free ice cream for Ashkenazi stomachs, but don’t forget the cone!
With its crispy outer crust and flaky warm inside, the croissant represents the complexity of Jewish life in Persia: of balancing a survivalist need to assimilate with a responsibility to represent Jewish identity. Plus, the morning shift workers at the Purim carnival need a breakfast food.