Purim – Mishloach Manot Ideas

I don’t go all out with mishloach manot (Purim food gifts). Maybe it’s because I packed thousands of them during 12 years of running a kosher gift business. I just remember the shipping boxes stacked up along walls and under the tables. By time I got to the synagogue to hear the Megillah reading, I was barely awake.
In our neighborhood, people have pared way back on Purim gifts. Cards to one’s favorite charity are more common, especially when extra calories are not always appreciated (at least by us older folks!)
But one must still satisfy the mitzvah of giving edible Purim gifts to at least two people. And children do enjoy the thrill of getting goodie packages.

This year I found decorative but inexpensive 5-inch (13 cm) square metal containers at a local cosmetics/jewelry shop. Earlier in the month I made half a batch of lemon poppy seed cake, baked it in cupcake tins and froze them. I’ll stuff dates with marzipan – both in the refrigerator and needing to be gone before Pesach. We’ll buy a bag of juicy tangerines to include in our gifts.

As a finishing touch, I’ll add a few chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks that my granddaughter Karen just made with me. It’s an easy, fun (and messy!) project that your children or grandchildren will enjoy doing with you.
Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Sticks

Pretzel sticks – I found whole-wheat pretzels made with liquid vegetable oil and covered with sesame seeds.
Chocolate – We used a bar of parve bittersweet chocolate. You can use chocolate chips too.
Canola oil
Candy sprinkles – Optional; Karen decided not to dip all of the sticks in sprinkles.
Washcloth for wiping chocolate from hands, face and clothing.
Break up the chocolate in a pyrex measuring cup (this just makes it easier for children to hold the container). Add a teaspoon or so of canola oil. Microwave it on low power, stirring occasionally, until it’s melted.
Lay out wax, parchment or sandwich paper on cookie sheets (for the finished sticks). Lay another piece on the counter or table and pour some of the sprinkles on it.
Dip half of each pretzel stick into the chocolate (a spoon helps spread and catch the drips). Roll the chocolate in the sprinkles and place on the paper-lined cookie sheet. Either set the finished sticks aside to harden, or refrigerate them for a short time. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.
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February 24, 2010

Tomer L. Friedman

OSEM, Israel’s premier purveyor of snack foods, has finally taken a step in the right direction.

In response to a decade’s worth of outrage from dietitians and concerned parents, Osem announced that as of this Purim, all Bamba snacks will now be made with a nutritious mixture of (bug-free) broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.

This change will apply to all shapes and sizes of Bamba.

Osem’s president, Shulamit Azrieli has attempted to soothe concerned consumers by issuing the following statement:

“No one should panic. Our dedicated food technologists have managed to maintain the traditional peanut taste of Bamba. They have drained all traces of flavor and color from the vegetables, while retaining their high nutrient value. I repeat: Don’t panic!”

In spite of her reassuring words, there are scattered reports of frantic consumers buying out current stocks of traditional Bamba from store shelves. Some looting has been reported in Rambla. “Let’s hope that those darn dietitians will finally be satisfied, said Azrieli,” before leaving her press conference.

National police commander Menachem Abutbul confirmed that extra patrols will be in place around supermarkets in all major cities for at least the next two weeks.

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Breaking News!

A remarkable new study conducted by the staff of the Bernard Cohen Hospital in B’nei B’rak and released on Erev Purim proves once and for all that people who consume the entire contents of all the Mishloach Manot that their children receive live longer, healthier and happier lives than those who restrict their intake to fruit, nuts and popcorn.

This changes everything!!!

Chag Purim Sameach! Happy Purim!

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Mishloach Manot

A Jewish women’s organization is soliciting donations in the US for Mishloach Manot (Purim gifts) for students living in the south. One of our neighborhood schools is sponsored by this organization, so it’s likely that students here will be among the recipients.

Do they think that Israeli kids are lacking in Purim goodies? Do they know how much junk food the children here eat?  Are candy and salty snacks supposed to alleviate anxieties brought on by the recent war?

Why not raise money to set up a school lunch program?

Israeli school children celebrated Purim on Sunday. Our granddaughter came to our house from gan (pre-school) with a bag of Bamba and chocolate wafer cookies, which she ate on the walk home. This was in addition to a gift of Mishloach Manot from the gan – a box of candy bars. I didn’t even ask what they served at their Purim party.

The Mishloach Manot trend in our community is moving towards donation cards. With local organizations under financial stress, this makes a lot of sense.

But we are still obligated to send “real” Mishloach Manot – a minimum of two different ready-to-eat food items to at least one person.

I like to give a homemade baked good and fresh fruit. 

(Star Kist tuna is running an ad campaign in Israel featuring tuna Mishloach Manot. I was briefly inspired. Maybe next year.)

Hamentashen are always a favorite. Include some whole-wheat flour in the dough and make a simple filling by poaching prunes, apricots or other dried fruit in a little water. Throw in a cinnamon stick for flavor and you won’t need to add sugar.

Seasonal oranges, apples and tangerines are a perfect complement.

This year I’m thinking ecologically too. I’m not putting my Purim goodies into baskets or plastic trays. I’ll be recycling my collection of paper bags – those cute little decorative bags with handles that you get with even the tiniest purchase.

Have a happy, healthy and fun Purim! 

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Chana Rubin, RD

Food for the Soul

Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating
By Chana Rubin, RD

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