Purim is a holiday honoring Esther, the Queen of Persia, who stood up for her Jewish community and saved them from genocide. Beginning at sundown on March 19th, the one-day celebration gives individuals a chance to have fun and celebrate their heritage — heightening your senses with a couple of cocktails is even encouraged (within reason, of course)!
To learn more about the festival of Purim, and what to serve, we went to Tori Avey of The Shiksa in the Kitchen for advice.
While most Jewish holidays are more serious, Purim is more spirited. While some choose to give to charity and help others out on Purim, it’s mostly a time to have fun. “It’s like a festival,” Tori explains. She and her family “sometimes celebrate at the temple, other years we’ll have a party at home;” others choose to attend carnivals in their town. At each of these events, costumes — more masquerade than scary — are de rigueur in the spirit of holiday.
When celebrating at home, Tori likes to serve up a couple of kosher cocktails to keep in the holiday spirit. Her Purim Pucker is one of her favorites; “the lemon and mint make the cocktail quite refreshing, and it’s very easy to drink,” says Tori. Her pomegranate Shiksa-tini is also popular, as “the different flavors work so well together.”
For the meal, Tori follows tradition and serves up something meatless. Why vegetarian? “It’s in honor of Queen Esther, who became a vegetarian to keep kosher in the palace of her non-Jewish husband King Ahasuerus,” she explains. Since both stuffed and triangle-shaped foods are also traditionally served on Purim, she’ll serve up triangular savory hand pie-like treats like Sambusak alongside a bowl of hearty vegetarian soup. To finish the meal, Tori loves to serve a lemon-glazed poppy seed cake. “It’s an indulgent treat that is also a fitting choice for the occasion, as Queen Esther ate lots of protein-rich nuts and seeds as a vegetarian,” Tori explains. (Photos Courtesy of Tori Avey)
Tori Avey’s Purim Favorites