Of course the contents of a Purim Mishloach Manot basket are edible. But what if the actual basket was, too?
A Homeshuling post about kid-crafted Mishloach Manot containers that are eco-friendly, cheap and reasonably attractive utterly derailed my work schedule today. I stopped everything to try the idea I posted as a suggestion, to make an edible basket from pretzel dough. With my classes and programs at synagogue, I’ve made many an aleph-bet pretzel and some questionable-looking sefer torah scrolls, but I’ve never tried to build a container.
First try: I coiled the dough inside a Pyrex glass measuring cup (oven safe). However, I didn’t oil the cup enough, and the whole thing had to be jimmied out with a sharp knife.
Second try: Freeform coil. Not Martha-Stewart pretty by any stretch of the dough, but then again, Martha Stewart doesn’t have a 4 year-old sous chef “helping.”
I stuck a blob of greased foil in the basket to support the handle as it baked, giving it a slight curve. Note: remember you will have to remove the blob without knocking off the handle. Tricky.
Result: Good idea in theory, but if you want truly pretty, you’ll need to obsess in the kitchen without the kids. And, it’ll need to be bigger than mine: I can only squeeze in a couple of Tootsie Rolls, Rolos and a chocolate kiss. To be truly Purim-worthy, it should hold at least two hamantaschen, don’t you think?
Bracha Bonus: A nice plus is that the basket, being edible, does require a bracha (blessing), and if your custom is to rig mishloach manot contents with items that elicit two different brachot, you are already halfway there. The mitzvah really just stipulates portions, plural, so it doesn’t matter if they are in the same blessings category. But the Jewish educator in me loves the idea of the two-blessings custom, as it can lead to discovery: that there are food blessings in the first place, and that they are tailored to the type of food and how it is prepared. I’m all for mindful eating, Jewish-flavored.
This basket bags the “minei mezonot” blessing, giving thanks for the Creator of “varieties of foods.”
Here’s a link to the food brachot page at MyJewishLearning.com.
Honestly, I don’t imagine anyone receiving an edible basket made by a preschooler will actually want to consume it. Unless the recipient is a preschooler, too.
I use the good ol’ soft pretzel recipe at PBSkids.org, but I suppose any ordinary soft pretzel recipe will do.