SHARING CULTURES THROUGH HOLIDAYS & FOOD – MARCH HOLIDAYS
There is a Holiday in every month some place in the world and March is no exception. During the month of March we have Peanut Butter Lovers Day, which is not actually a Holiday but is a day of recognition. In addition we have Purim and St. Patrick’s Day. Holidays always provide us with a food reason to prepare special foods. Read the following paragraphs and try the recipes in our recipe section to share with your family and friends.
March 1st – Peanut Butter Lovers Day – Almost every American child has gone to school with Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches packed in their lunch boxes. Almost everybody loves Peanut Butter but what most people don’t know is that Peanut Butter has many uses other than as a sandwich filling. It can be used in baked goods (not just for cookies), as a sauce http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/appetizers/chicken-satay-with-peanut-butter-sauce/or in snacks such as Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/snacks/peanut-butter-rice-krispy-candies/. Peanut Butter muffins, Peanut Butter frosting and on and on. You can buy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Candies and Peanut Butter filled Pretzels. Peanut Butter can be purchased in jars in homogenized form or from a Heath Food Store where you can grind your own, fresh to order. Peanut Butter comes in creamy smooth form or crunchy. Crunchy is great for cookies if you like to have texture and crunch in your treats. The Peanut Butter /Rice Cereal Treats below are made with creamy peanut butter and chocoalte chips were put into half the batch. Chocolate and Peanut Butter go very well together.
Purim is a Holiday celebrated by Jews the world over. Like Chanukah, it is a time for rejoicing and fun rather than serious religious observance. Purim celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from the death decree issued by Haman as orchestrated by Mordecai. During the Purim Service, the Megillah from the Book of Esther is usually read.
Purim is also sometimes celebrated with carnivals, costume wearing and a general good time. Sweets in the form of little cakes or cookies are made and eaten. Hamentaschen (Haman’s Hat) are three cornered pastries, either made from cookie dough/and or yeast dough are filled with apricot, prune or almond filling. The reason they are called Hamentaschen, is because the Hat that Haman wore was a 3 cornered hat and Hamentaschen are made to be 3 cornered. Another sweet that is sometimes made during Purim is called Haman’s ear. These are pastry that is fried and sprinkled with sugar. Hamaentaschen are more commonly made though.
It is also common to give parcels of food to the poor and give charity in general. Purim always falls during the Hebrew Month of Adar which is usually in March on the Western or Gregorian Calendar.
This year, Purim begins at sundown on March 8th. Try your hand at making some Hamentaschen. They have always been a favorite treat of mine and my family. I especially like an apricot filling and yeast dough, but most Hamentaschen are usually made with the cookie dough. Follow the Hamantaschen recipe in our recipe section http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/cookies/hamantaschen/ and give us your opinion as to which filling you like best. Canned fillings which are quite good can be purchased in the Kosher section of most markets.
St. Patrick’s Day is another March Holiday and always falls on March 17th. It is sometimes known as the ‘Wearing of the Green’ and is celebrated the world over, even though it is really an Irish Holiday. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. The day is generally characterized by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire (especially shamrocks). The Shamrock has become a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day because it is said that St. Patrick used the Shamrock (3 leaf clover) to explain the Holy Trinity to his converts.
Foods that you can make for or with your children for St. Patrick’s Day are Shamrock Sugar Cookies, Green Pizza Bagels (our local Bagel Bakery makes green bagels for St. Patrick’s Day). With the Pizza Bagels you are sharing the Day with Italian and Jewish Cultures. A Cheesy Broccoli Casserole http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/vegetables/cheesy-broccoli-casserole/ is also a good dish to go with your St. Patrick’s Day meal. It is green, has great nutritional value and contains cheese which is loved by most everyone. You can also serve Vanilla Milkshakes which have had a drop or two of green food color added to fit the Holiday.