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Still No Clear Winner

Last night, I attended the 61st (or maybe 62nd? 63rd?) edition of the Latke-Hamantasch Debate. For those who are not familiar with this Great and Serious Academic Tradition, it is a Serious Academic Event which is the Jewish social event of the fall quarter here at the U of C. A panel of distinguished professors, each representing a different discipline, appear in full regalia on the stage of Mandel Hall to muster the wisdom, thought, and jargon of their particular fields to try and answer, once and for all, the great burning question: Which is the superior Jewish holiday food, the latke or the hamantasch?

This year, we heard from the fields of economics, oriental studies, law, and political science. I am pleased to say that the debate still has not been resolved and will thus have to continue next year. But the attempt was hysterically funny, as usual, and an entirely worthwhile way to spend my evening. As opposed to actually sitting down and doing my Hebrew homework.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
That sounds similar to my undergraduate school's raft debates. The idea was three professors (different each semester) survived a shipwreck and were in a raft, and there was only enough food for one of them. They debated which one should be saved, on the basis of their respective discipline's importance.

Those were always a hoot, but yours sounds even better. It makes me sorry that I didn't apply to any ph.d. programs in the greater Chicago area (I was considering Northwestern at one point), and so will never get to see it in person.
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
You could always get hired by the U of C. That way, you might even get asked to participate one day!
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
My local bookstore has a big display of the collected essays; also included in the display is this volume, which I am somewhat intrigued by but have not yet read.
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
One of last night's debators, Austan Goolsbee of the Econ department, actually referenced "The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming" in his paper. He mentioned that it was a Christmas-themed children's book and got a big laugh. I'm not sure how many people believed that he wasn't making that up.
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
I can't believe I never knew about that! (Especially since I have very strong position on that myself.)
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
Would you be prepared to defend your position using all of your professional resources?
Nov. 21st, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
how i never manage to know about this until after it happens is one of life's great mysteries.

i got the above-referenced book one year, though.
Nov. 21st, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
Always the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Mandel Hall.
Nov. 21st, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
The question is, was there tasting involved? One has to support one's theories with evidence.
Nov. 22nd, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
But of course. $5 got you into a reception in Hutch Commons after the Debate, where there were great heaps of latkes (potato, sweet potato, zucchini), hamentaschen (poppy seed, prune, mixed berry, tropical), sour cream, applesauce, and soda.
Nov. 22nd, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
That was my burning question, too, and I thank dot_o_choillmor for asking it.

Mmmmm, that tasting sounds divine. I'd sit through boring speeches for that (but laughing at humorous defenses is even better preparation).
Nov. 25th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
The latkes and hamantaschen were pretty good -- the latkes were better. And the speeches were anything but boring!
Nov. 22nd, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
Oh and there was tasting!? I am drooling! What a great idea. That sounds like a lot of fun.
Nov. 22nd, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
Of course there was tasting. No Jewish event is ever complete without food.
Nov. 22nd, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Oh and Jewish people can cook too! There is nothing that my Jewish friends have ever cooked for me that I haven't liked. You are making me so home sick!
Nov. 22nd, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
Absolutely we can cook. At least, I can cook. And so can the students at the Akiba Shechter Day School, who made the latkes and hamentaschen for us.

(Their latkes were better than their hamentaschen, but, hey, who am I to turn any of it down?)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
There would have to be taste-testing involved to get me to that thing.
Nov. 25th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
But of course there is taste-testing. And the Debate is really lots of fun, nerdly as it is.
Nov. 23rd, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
I like a department that has a sense of humor. If only certain other departments who shall remain nameless were able to laugh at themselves as well.

In conclusion, that sounds awesome! *g*
Nov. 25th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
Perhaps you could drop by Hillel and see if you can get them to tap one of your former profs for next year's event?
Nov. 25th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
o.O! That would be awesome. I bet some of the vocal evolutionary biologists would be into it.
Nov. 25th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
I think we did have an evolutionary biologist last year. He defended the latke, of course.
Nov. 26th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)
Do you remember who it was? (Or is there a way to look that up?)
Nov. 26th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
I think I got his field a little off. He was Elliot Gershon, a psychiatry professor. But his talk definitely involved evolutionary biology.
Nov. 26th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
Ah, okay. Then the time has come for Jerry Coyne's defense of the Latke or Hamantasch! (Or, you know, whoever)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )