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Ballot Box: Issue 911

The “mug”elach. It’s rugelach in the shape of a mug

After New Jersey’s Styrofoam and plastic ban went into effect, we’re concerned that the next item to be targeted will be the coffee cup, although as of now, the paper version is biodegradable. But to be prepared, we came up with several coffee cup alternatives. And so did you.


It’s like a water fountain, but dispenses coffee. It might be a good idea to have disposable rain ponchos handy, so you can wear the poncho to protect your white shirt from the inevitable coffee shpritz. At least there’s no ban on disposable rain ponchos… yet.


Perhaps there is no more need for a cup at all! You can simply insert the coffee granules into your mouth then add some hot water, give a little gargle, and add the milk. L’chayim! No more coffee stains on your shirt from the leaking coffee cups.


This dilemma just decries the overindulgence of gashmiyus of our generation. I don’t mean coffee obviously. That’s a necessity. But when did we get so finicky and need cups? I say we go back to the days when hardworking men would stand around and drink from a communal trough. Two bath-sized troughs of coffee (one for Maxwell House and one for the more discerning palate obviously) with several hanging ladles should suffice for a coffee room. It’s time to get back to the basics. As an aside, this is definitely one way to ensure herd immunity….


When trying to find a material that will avoid problems, you can’t go wrong with stone. Not only will it avoid the Styrofoam cup ban, you don’t need to worry about bliyos (regardless of whether it’s a halachic choice or you just don’t like the same brand as the last guy), as it can’t become tamei (just in case your yeshivah has that one guy who is still makpid on chulin b’taharah), and it probably won’t even spill over your seforim if someone knocks into it by mistake. (Suitability of stone cups for keeping coffee hot throughout a long seder is not guaranteed. A cup-sized Lishkas Beis Hamoked may be necessary.)


If milk can come in a bag, why not coffee? In fact, this may just become the newest fashion accessory — coffee bags that can be worn like an arm band (think Fitbit, hands-free cell-phone holders, etc.) with a tube attached. Want coffee? Put the tube in your mouth and drink.


Every pastry is just a vehicle for another coffee. My solution is the marriage of the two: the “mug”elach. It’s rugelach in the shape of a mug. Just fill, eat and enjoy!


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 911)

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