Purim is coming a little late for me this year. Just as I’m crawling out of my upside-down life, it wants to pull me back in.
There used to be so much time.
And then I went from student to professional. And then Adam got mono. Then I spent a weekend in New York and, before I knew it, our apartment was covered in papers, shoes, cups, kleenex, we had eaten chicken soup for two weeks, and I hadn’t updated my blog in three months.
I had completely lost my rhythm.
I don’t know how you feel when you find yourself in transition, but I can become crazed — I never drink enough water; if I can make it to the gym, my workouts are pitiful; the fridge looks repulsive; and my inspiration is tucked somewhere between last week’s recycling and the canvas bags by the door that I keep forgetting to put in my trunk.
And then I have one really, extraordinary, completely awful, terrible day and my world feels irreparably upside-down. The only thing that can bring me comfort in this (extremely dramatic) moment is indulging the type-A psychopath inside of me grasping for some balance: I need to make a list.
“… Drink more water … this is how I’m going to drink more water … Absolutely work out on Tues and Thurs … and make overnight oats and get some more dry shampoo so I can fit in a workout before work … Sort through all the recipes I have bookmarked in the last six months … actually cook some of those recipes every other weekend … and I will do this … and I will do that … ” until I feel the balance returning to my life and I can breath a little slower. And after finally getting a pulse on the parts of my life that have been sl o w l y d y i n g, my world feels right-side-up and the inspiration actually starts buzzing.
When I open the fridge, the radishes start dancing along my shelf, cuddling up against the kale, and the yogurt starts smelling lemony and sweet with honey, and — just like that — I’m frying up some quinoa falafels with a sweet yogurt sauce and pickled radish. I always thought that inspiration was something I had to let creep up on me, in it’s own time. It’s not.
Purim is the time of year when everything is upside-down. The Purim story is one of unexpected victory, a story about how an event intended to harm the Jews eventuates in its opposite. We don masks and costumes, drink excessively, take on roles and act in ways that are completely absurd compared to our normal lives as a sign of the freedoms we enjoy. The essential lesson of Purim is to try to embrace the way the world can turn upside down in a single moment. In a time of persecution, it’s an empowering message. But I’m just sitting here wondering what the lesson means in times of freedom and when things are working. How much do we heed the message to embrace how quickly everything can change?
These celebration cookies appear on Purim and in weddings. They are buttery soft, melt-in-your-mouth (but not in your hands), can’t stop won’t stop (if you like cardamon), diet destroyers. Perfectly paired with black tea.
Makes about 28 cookies
Recipe adapted from Gil Marks’s Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
What You Need
1 c butter
1 1/3 c confectioner’s sugar (+ a tiny bit extra for garnish)
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cardamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 c rice flour
poppy seeds to garnish
How To Do It
Beat the butter for approximately one minute with an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating for about another 4 minutes until the dough becomes fluffy — it will look super crumble until *magically* it becomes creamy and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time, beating the egg into the butter and sugar and then adding the next. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the vanilla, salt, and cardamon until well combined. Gradually add the rice flour, beating until fully incorporated. Cover the dough and set in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two pans with parchment paper and create 1-inch balls with approximately 2 teaspoons worth of dough. Flatten into a (1/4 inch) disc with the palm of your hand. Garnish with poppy seeds. Bake for 10 minutes until the cookies have set but have not browned. Let them sit for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack until they’ve cooled completely. Once they are cool, garnish with a little confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!