If you didn’t already know, Erev Purim starts on the evening of March 16 (the day after the Deli event for our anniversary). Although the actual holiday is just that evening and then the next day, Hamantaschen are terrific any time. They’ve been Paul’s favorite pastry for as long as I can remember!
If you don’t know it, Purim is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the Persian Jews outwitting the wicked minister Haman who was out to annihilate them. Haman was going to have all the Jews put to death, but the uncle (Mordechai) of the Queen (Esther) found out about Haman’s evil intentions and passed word to his niece (Queen Esther) who in turn told the King, who then put Haman to death instead of the Jews. The triangular shape was said to be derived from the three-cornered hat that Haman wore. A different origin story is that they were made by central European Jews based on the German mohntaschen—a poppyseed filled pastry pocket. However they came to be, they do taste terrific!
The modern-day tradition around Purim calls for kids to dress up in costume, traditionally as Queen Esther, Mordechai, Haman, etc. The night Purim begins, Jews gather at the synagogue to read the Megillah—the story of Purim. Every time Haman’s name comes up in the reading, kids swing old-fashioned noise makers. The best thing of all about Purim from a culinary standpoint, is most definitely, Hamantaschen. These beautiful little all-butter cookie dough crust pockets are stuffed with an array of fillings: the Creamery’s cream cheese, mixed with Vanilla bean; Apricot; Hungarian Prune with Walnuts; and, Paul’s favorite, Dutch Poppy Seed. All are excellent.
It’s a Jewish tradition to bring gifts at Purim, so a box of Hamantaschen dropped off at the office or your neighbor’s house would be a great way to do that. We happily ship Hamantaschen all over the country, so place your holiday orders soon to get them there before Purim!
P.S. We’ll be donating $1 from the sale of each Hamantaschen purchased in our Bakeshop this month to Polish Humanitarian Action, to help them assist Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border escaping the violence. Feeling helpless about how to help people in Ukraine, we thought that the Purim story—where the wicked minister almost comes out on top but ends up losing seemed fitting for what’s happening right now.
P.P.S. If you want to make hamantaschen at home, the recipe in the wonderful Zingerman’s Bakehouse book!
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
- Sign up for Ari’s Top 5 enewsletter to hear more from Ari every week!
- Order some hamantaschen for pickup at the Bakehouse
- Ship some hamantaschen to Hoboken
- Read more about hamantaschen and some history on Purim
In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.
Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.
Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.
One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.
Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.
Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!