Dear Miriam | Helping to Handle a Hamentaschen Headscratcher
My two kids, ages 5 and 10, participated in a very sweet and well-organized virtual hamentaschen baking program, and they each made a dozen pastries. Carbs and sugar don’t really agree with anyone in my house, but it’s hard to avoid the temptation to eat the hamentaschen anyway. I can’t put them in our mishloach manot because the kids didn’t prepare them in a hygienic way, and I feel bad just tossing them. Any other ideas?
Tossing the ‘Taschen
Your kids had what sounds like a great experience with this baking project. Whether the finished product gets eaten is really secondary to the experience, so remember that whatever happens from here, the positive memories are here to stay. With that framework, hopefully, what ultimately happens to the hamentaschen will start to feel less important.
Though you say sugar and carbs don’t agree with you, unless there’s a true allergy or intolerance, allowing your kids (and yourself, if you want) to sample the goods can be worthwhile. For one thing, they’ll taste what they made, which in itself is beneficial, and could be a gateway to feeling inspired to cook or bake other things more in line with your household’s taste and tolerance. For another, limiting access to forbidden but desired foods can often spark even a greater desire in kids (and adults!), and though Purim isn’t often associated with moderation, teaching the skill of listening to your body around food is really important any time of year.
You could say that the hamentaschen are fair game from now through Thursday night and, after that, anything that’s left will get thrown out. You could say that each kid has the option to eat one a day until they get sick of them, at which point they’ll get thrown out anyway. Yes, they’re tempting, but only up to a point, and I suspect your kids will lose interest long before they’ve eaten two dozen cookies.
As for giving them away in mishloach manot, Purim gifts of food, I think it would be totally fine! If you want, you can put in a note that says “lovingly prepared by 5- and 10-year-old hands in our home kitchen.” Then the recipients can decide for themselves if they want to eat them, but you’ve still offered a kind gesture, fulfilled one of the Purim mitzvot (obligations) and gotten these treats out of your house.
The perhaps sad reality of mishloach manot is that one household can only eat so many hamentaschen no matter how delicious or lovingly prepared, and I imagine that a pretty large proportion get thrown out eventually anyway.
So if you want to skip all of the above steps, just throw them out now without feeling guilty or tempted or wasteful or whatever negative emotion you have tied to wasting food and getting rid of your kids’ handiwork. If you’ll have a happier Purim if the hamentaschen are gone, then you have your answer right there.