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MIT student blogger Snively '11

Latke vs. Hamentashen Debate: LiveBlog by Snively '11


8:02 pm
I’m here in 26-100 getting ready to watch the 2008 Latke Vs. Hamentashen debate. In essence, take a bunch of MIT professors and hundreds of interested parties listening intently, cheering on their favorite Jewish tasty.

I’m going to try to semi-flow this debate, keeping you updated on all of the important bits and some of the funnier jokes. Pictures could be scarce because of how hard it is to take, compress, crop, upload, and insert pictures while typing. I did manage to catch some candids of the human Latke and human Hamentashen.

Can you guess which is which???

Anyway, the debate is now beginning, more word soon.

8:11 pm
Master of ceremonies Jeremy Wolfe is explaining the origins of the Latke vs. Hamentashen debate.

8:13 pm
They are going to flip the ritual package of Top Ramen in order to decide who begins the debate. With a call of heads, Team Hamentashen has decided to speak second. Peter Dourmashkin, Stephen Van Evera, and Patrick Winston are now being introduced and will soon be arguing for the Latke.

8:16 pm
This is turning into a roast! I’m not sure they could have made any more physics/TEAL related jokes when introducing Dourmashkin, who is now speaking.

Major Food = Minor Holiday
Latke = Hanukkah
Minor Food = Major Holiday
Hamentashen = Purim
Hamen = Bad Guy

Latkes are brain food (read they look like brains)

After testing if a potato floats in a large beaker of water (it didn’t), Dourmashkin pulled a latke from his pocket and, lo and behold, it floated! You thought Archimedes said Eureka? Psh, he said “Your Latke!” Latkes are obviously superior!

8:22 pm

Latke is round, therefore associated with a nice transcendental number (pi).
Hamentashen is triangular, therefore associated with an ugly transcendental number (sqrt(3)).

Dourmashkin is done speaking and now Ari Epstein is being introduced for Team Hamentashen.

We’re all receiving paper plates in the audience. Only the Hamentashen side is getting little stickers to go along with them. That’s because we’re awesome!!!

Constructivism: The learner learns more through experience and construction than via the normal method of “LOL I’M AT MIT AND GLAGLASDKGHSJDHGLKJSFDH” <- That’s the sound you make when a firehose sprays you in the face.

Hamentashen affords options, lots of different fillings, while the latke allows potato and . . . sweet potato. It’s fun to make Hamentashen with friends, it’s a great party food! Latke? No. Hamentashen is dessert! Latke? No idea, is it even food?

8:30 pm

8:31 pm
Patrick Winston was just introduced and is ready to argue for the latkes again.

They’re playing a video of a tour in the underground of Stata. Twisting and turning through machine rooms we get lost and confused but then BOOM! A door opens and a nice little kitchen is all set up and latkes are frying. The actual home of Katz’s Delicatessen!!!

8:38 pm
An impromptu Turing test revealed the following revelations:

8:40 pm
Hazel Sive is now being introduced.

“Adult Hamentash is the only multicellular lifeform with triangular symmetry”. . . go figure? A biological approach to hamentashen should be a bit interesting.

How does a single cell become an adult hamentashen with 10^12 cells?

“Single -> disc ~10^5 cells -> larva -> immature hamentashen -> adult hamentashen 10^12 cells”

Um, apparently now we’re looking for mutant hamentashen. The first is a hamentashen with too much filling. Another is one with too many tails. The last is one that has arrested development, it never folded. It has been scorned and named “latke.” Therefore, Latke = mutant Hamentashen. QED

8:46 pm
Stephen Van Evera is now being introduced. “Latkes Rule, Hamentashen drool.” is the title of the next slide.

He’s discussing . . . WTF!? He just spent an entire minute discussing the word “Sniviling” and “Snivility” and how it’s a great thing to accuse your opponent of. It’s vile, associated with evil, badness, Brittney Spears, and generally distasteful things. I take offense!

Old Glory: Love it well by loving latkes!

The stars on the flag? Nope, latkes. 50 latkes, all on our flag!

Now we’re chanting “USA USA LATKES LATKES USA!” Like at a political rally.

Wow, I hope that these slides hit the internet, I need to show you some of this stuff!

“Latkes=hot oil, therefore, latkes improve national security if you can pour the hot oil over the castle wall onto Bin Laden’s head. Hamentashen? No good for killing people. Fooey on them. Surrender monkeys! ”

8:57 pm
Vote For Latkes! Pull the Lever for Latkes!

8:58 pm
Erik Demaine is now being introduced.

Hamentashen is an anagram for. . . . .

enHances math!!!

(I think they may have just won right there. Boo-yah)

Twice as many syllables, twice as good. w00t. The latke’s goal in life is to fold into a hamentashen. Hamentashen can never be folded into a circle, why? BECAUSE CIRCLE’S DO NOT EXIST! Therefore there is no perfect latke. QED.

9:04 pm
Circles can’t tile, they waste space while sitting in the pan and cooking. Latkes, while wasting heat during cooking, contribute to global warming!

Traingle versus circle, it’s clear that the triangle will just pop the circle. Duh folks, Hamentashen wins!

Intermission time!

9:09 pm
Rebuttals from hamentashen now.

“MIT is a place of truth, knowledge, and honesty! Hamentashen enhances math!”

“If you take two hamentashen you can make the Jewish star.”

“Hot oil good for weapons? Ok. WHY ARE YOU MAKING FOOD WITH IT?”

9:13 pm
Rebuttals from latke now.

“Bulls eating hamentashen is dangerous.”

Leonardo, a smart robot creature from the media lab, just verified that latkes are wonderful and hamentashen are evil. Leave it to the robot!

9:20 pm
The latke team argues: The MIT Hamentashen Team will cause Bin Laden to take over the world! QED

9:22 pm
We’re voting now, who will win!? Latkes? Hamentashen? CAN YOU HANDLE THE SUSPENSE???

9:23 pm
TIE! Thanks for reading, I’m going to go eat Jewish food now!

46 responses to “Latke vs. Hamentashen Debate: LiveBlog”

  1. Anonymous says:

    haha! nice costumes!!!

  2. i wonder whether it is more fun to sit and follow a debate session or just be here awake all night till now 4:21 am working for spinvox trying to convert voicemails to texts. at least snively will keep us craking with the jokes. keep them coming. by the way snively. am coming in fall and i promise to beat you in the blogging game soonest. give me a moment then i can come back.

  3. le-yo says:

    oh my God, am still laughing over the Eureka or rather “your latke” joke. we are chilling for more. snively.

  4. le-yo says:

    how did you do that?

  5. le-yo says:

    hey master snively. my boss has Websensed so much stuff and i cant even check mail. please request Jeremy Wolfe to give me tips of cracking it up. i do know you are pretty smart, y dont you help me access all wesites and chuck the websence thing without an admin password.
    can you do it for me online? i can give you the comp….

  6. Anonymous says:

    can’t squit
    maybe magnifying glass would work.

  7. Shannon '12 says:

    “> what would you want to eat if the red phone rings at 3am
    Latke without any doubt”

    Hahaha. Totally made my night.

  8. le-yo '12 says:

    what about if you have a latke that goes on to mutate? maybe we will get snivelate with an arested apical dominance

  9. le-yo '12 says:

    stop the floss snively. they aint know a thing bout sniveling

  10. Hmmm I’ve never heard of either of these foods but hamentashen sounds REALLY good! I’ll have to try it.

  11. “Hamentashen is an acronym for. . . . .

    enHances math!!!”
    I think i have to admit that those guys are first class idlers. too idle a people to come up with such an “anogram”
    they deserve it. lets wait and see what comes up. let me convert 3 more voicemails and earn extra commision.

  12. just to contribute my e^(ln2) cents

  13. Anonymous says:

    i remember the blog about psets and how they were to be handed in not even a nanosecond late. Well its time for me to catch up on some sleep. its 5:15 am and my shift is over. hey snively, i would have loved to go on with the debate. it is as if am there. Keep the jokes coming. I will check on them later. good day. or rather for you its should be good night i guess. peach. have a maths enhancing Hamentashen

  14. i remember the blog about psets and how they were to be handed in not even a nanosecond late. Well its time for me to catch up on some sleep. its 5:15 am and my shift is over. hey snively, i would have loved to go on with the debate. it is as if am there. Keep the jokes coming. I will check on them later. good day. or rather for you its should be good night i guess. peach. have a maths enhancing Hamentashen

  15. Wow thats epic, and to end it in a tie. How disappointing…even though I know nothing about either of these foods I think that I would vote for the Hamentashen all the way. Seems real tasty and the their logic just makes sense, but Latke does have a few funny/good points as well… raspberry meh I’ll just have to participate next time and experience it first hand! Thanks Snively and sorry your name got trashed on haha raspberry

  16. Laser says:

    Being a Jew, this is the best post yet. Judaism rules, and so do our foods and customs. W00T.

  17. Anonymous says:

    @Laser-I don’t think any religion rules over another…it’s just a matter of opinion. If you ask me, not a single religion rules…but how can I be so sure of a subjective statement? Let’s keep all religious views at the same altitude.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “Hamentashen is an acronym for. . . . .

    enHances math!!!”

    by FAR the best arguement of the night!

    thought “it’s clear that the triangle will just pop the circle” is a close runner-up…

  19. Snively says:

    Please, for the love of God (whichever one/not one you care for), PLEASE DON’T LET THIS TURN INTO A CONVERSATION ABOUT RELIGION!

  20. Lauren '12 says:

    sqrt(3) – an ugly transcendental number? hmm, sqrt(3) isn’t transcendental at all!! it’s a solution to x^2 – 3 = 0.. maybe that’s why it’s “ugly?” I’m confused. Also I’m so sad I missed this debate! Wanted to come but ended up practicing piano instead. Thanks for blogging about it grin. Though the free food sounds nice… next time, heh (maybe when I’m actually an MIT student…).

  21. Karen says:

    Latkes were my food of choice for lunch last Friday and Saturday, delivered by a current MIT student to our FIRST pit.

    Also, rugelah is the tastiest of all of the Jewish desserts. Hamentashen does’t even come close smile

  22. Carlos says:

    @ Snively
    Lately, you’ve been putting an hyperlink in a given word of each post’s description. Except this one… that’s weird.

  23. Quasars says:

    @ Snively
    Archimedes exclaimed ‘Eureka!’, not Galileo. You can check wiki –

  24. Snively says:

    Fixed, thanks. There were a lot of famous names being thrown around and I was in liveblog panic mode.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Latkes all the way

    Nice blog entry and great link, a true classic.

    Here’s part 2:

    or click the name link

  26. Steph says:

    Latkes win hands down.

  27. Jeremy says:

    Awesome! Personally, I’m all for latkes (which are totally a better party food than hamentaschen, and everyone always wants more). I’ve never really liked hamentaschen for some reason.

    And I’m definitely making Jewish food when Hanukkah comes around again (and rugalah!) Jew food rocks my socks!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ahh … acronym? I believe you would ordinarily opt for the term ‘anagram’.

  29. Snively says:

    Fixed, thanks. I again blame the fervor of liveblogging.

  30. Becca says:

    I have to say, of all religious foods, Jewish food is hard to beat. Yummy and abundant.

  31. Becca says:

    I have to say, of all religious foods, Jewish food is hard to beat. Yummy and abundant.

  32. Becca says:

    Sorry about the double post- stupid school computers. So to make up for it I’m going to try to say something profound.

    If you combine latkes, hamentaschen (and of course applesauce) into a meal, you transcend which is better, and just appreciate them all.

    That is my wonderful attempt at profoundness. *Bows and leaves*.

  33. Anonymous says:

    hmm… this is pretty tricky… why is sqrt{3} transcendental?

    f(x) = x^2 – 3

    is a polynomial whose roots are pm{sqrt{3}}. o.0 There’s probably some convoluted process or lemma out there which proves that it is transcendental though… raspberry

  34. Anonymous says:


    Are you going to cover the Star Simpson trial?

  35. Laser says:

    I hadn’t meant that Judaism rules over the other religions, I meant that in general it is a cool religion… I’m no advent for stupid religious fighting, please, you have me all wrong Anonymous.

    And perhaps the person had meant irrational instead of transcendental?

  36. Judy H. says:

    oh LAWL… flipping Top Ramen … hahahaha.

  37. Laser says:

    Plus, calling a transcendental number “nice” is a little odd, since they are irrational and never-ending. As cool as pi might be, I wouldn’t call it nice lol.

  38. Lauren says:

    Anonymous – I pointed that out above… I think he meant irrational, since sqrt(3) isn’t transcendental…

  39. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised the political science professor didn’t bring up the fact that hamantashen are named after Haman, enemy of the Jews and of the free world in general. The Founding Fathers would not be proud of hamantashen.

  40. Anonymous says:

    just noticed that ur name isnt there in the dropdown bloggers list ..that tells me that ben is REALLY busy!

  41. Rutu says:

    Hehe…man, this is amazing. Though, anticlimactic…a tie after all that? I’d have to say latkes though, cuz they have a jagged and rough surface which increases surface area and thus increases reaction rate ^__^.

    And of course, hamentaschen can increase blood sugar and lead to diabetes….

    And latkes allow for creativity, cuz there’s no rule that says they must be circular….so one can make any manner of shapes….while with hamentaschen, one can only make polygons (to keep the filling from flowing out), and, of course, creativity is a pillar of MIT, so……


  42. Vicky says:

    My vote is for Latkes. WOO.

    By the way… I’m going to HSSP tomorrow and it is suppose to rain. Does anyone know anything about MIT’s underground tunneling system or something?

  43. pratik says:

    hi people!
    This is something on a slightly different note.Do you really believe that the answers to all our questions lie in the present theories like the string theory for example?I personally believe that the answer to every thing will be revealed only to one person according to this beautiful line:when the last man on earth was alone in his room the door was knocked.This line is known as the shortest horror story.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never had either. I really want to try them now!