Are Purim Foods the Jews' Best-Kept Secret?

Kim Conte
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hamantaschen Even though Purim is one of the most festive Jewish holidays, it's definitely not the most well-known.

The holiday commemorates the deliverance of the Jews of ancient Persia from danger, and according to tradition, the amazingly beautiful and intelligent Queen Esther played a major role in the story. And let me tell you, this Queen Esther was a very healthy lady as far as eating was concerned. Just take a look at the foods typically served during Purim.

As the story goes, Esther wanted to maintain her kosher diet instead of eating the non-kosher meats served at the palace of her husband, King Ashasuerus of Persia. So, she became vegetarian, and lived on a diet of legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds -- which, in addition to being extremely healthy, was also thought to keep her looking young and beautiful.

In honor of the beautiful queen, many modern-day Purim celebrations incorporate delicious vegetarian foods with a Persian influence. Also, garbanzo beans -- as well as a variety of legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds -- have become closely associated with the holiday. As a result, some dishes you might find at a Purim dinner could include: sliced avocado with poppy seed dressing; bean and noodle soup; eggplant salad with Middle Eastern spices; or curried lentils.

And don't forget the Hamantaschen -- a buttery cookie that looks like a hat and is filled with fruit or seeds.

I don't know about you, but there's something about a menu fit for a queen that makes me want to eat Purim foods all year round.

What do you eat during Purim?


Image via plutor/Flickr

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