Cohen, the Latke-Hamantash Debate, and Incommensurability


Owing, sadly, to Ted Cohen’s death, I learned of the Latke-Hamantash debate, an academic debate, begun in 1946, over the relative merits of these two Jewish foods. Here is one of Cohen’s contributions to the debate. To me, the latke seems the clear winner here, but I imagine this must be the semi-finals and that the winner will eventually square off against the matzah ball. Early on in his piece, Cohen claims that “the latke and the hamantash are not commensurate.” Those tempted to this line of thinking should perhaps view The Big Chart video, which boldly places everything on a NCAA-style bracket chart (I guess it is that time of the year again) and bulldozes your preconceptions about what it is possible to compare. (It is an old video, seems to require Quicktime to work, and I couldn’t get it going in Chrome on one computer, but there it is.)

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