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When shopping these days, it appears that a "normal hamentash" is about 2 inches or more per side, and "mini hamentashen" are about 1" per side. Is it just me, or did it used to be that the 1" ones were "normal", and the 2" were "jumbo"?

What size was a traditional hamentash? Have they always been large, or is this part of 21st-century America's portion distortion?

(Can anyone comment on the size of Israeli hamentashen? In centimeters, I guess ...)

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@msh210: should this really have the "shiurim" tag? There's no halachic minimum requirement for a hamantash's size, after all. :) –  Alex Mar 10 '11 at 16:06
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"Would you like a Chazon Ish hamentash or a R' Chaim Naeh hamentash?" ... here be Purim-Torah fodder ... –  Shalom Mar 10 '11 at 16:20
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@Alex "Shiurim" is just a Hebrew word for measurements or limits. It usually means "Halachic limits" in this context, but it needn't always. –  Isaac Moses Mar 10 '11 at 17:24
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@Shalom Which rabbi was it who ran around Persia, measuring everyone's ears and pockets? –  Isaac Moses Mar 10 '11 at 17:26
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@Isaac: that would probably have been R' Eliezer ben Yaakov, the author of Masechta Middos. –  Alex Mar 10 '11 at 17:37
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1 Answer

The Milwaukee Journal of Feb. 20, 1958, has a recipe for hamentaschen that says the dough should be cut into a three- or four-inch round (presumably in diameter), which comports with current recipes for homemade hamentaschen.

Mrs. L. Rubin, writing in the Canadian Jewish Review of Feb. 24, 1956, suggests using the edge of a glass to cut the dough, which, again, comports with current recipes.

Earlier on the same page, Mrs. L. Quint writes to use a cookie cutter, which, while the size is not specified, also likely comports with current recipes.

Of course, none of these is very old.

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For what it's worth, the side of a hamentasch should be about √3/2 (~0.87) times the diameter of the circle it comes from, so a 3" - 4" diameter circle would yield a 2.5" - 3.5" sided hamentasch. –  Isaac Moses Mar 18 '11 at 15:25
    
@R'Isaac, yes, except that the dough may grow or shrink (grow, I'd think) while baking. –  msh210 Mar 20 '11 at 4:46
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