Happy Chanukkah everyone! Tonight, at sunset, will mark the first night of Chanukkah. I thought it would be only appropriate to talk a little bit about the classic holiday foods. As I mentioned, for Thanksgiving this year I opted to make latkes, but why are latkes a Chanukkah staple? And what other foods are we supposed to eat for Chanukkah?
The story of Chanukkah.
Now, I'm not fully caught up in all the deets of the Chanukkah story, but I'll give you what I know. There was some kind of war going on and the Jews were being oppressed (I don't know if that's fact, but most Jewish tales start with us being oppressed). We weren't doing so good, until this guy named Judah joined the fight. We started kicking ass and taking names. Then Judah and his people went to Jerusalem and all kinds of terrible things were going down. They found a little bit of oil in the big mess and Macgyver'ed a menorah. They only had enough oil to burn for one night, but low and behold the miracle of Chanukkah, and the menorah burned for eight nights. Time to eat.
The significance of the oil.
As is says in the story, there was only enough oil to burn for one night, but it miraculously burned for eight. To celebrate this we light a candle every night, for eight nights, during Chanukkah. Oil is an important symbol of the holiday, which means food. Because when you are Jewish, everything means food.
The foods of Chanukkah.
Since oil is the basis of the holiday, we eat fried foods as part of the celebration. The most common are latkes and donuts.
My favorite Chanukkah food are latkes, or potato pancakes, which are shredded potatoes and onions shaped into a pancake and fried. The best way to eat them is with a dollop of apple sauce. They are crunchy on the outside, soft inside, and full of potato and flavor. I could enjoy latkes any time of year, but I will be cooking them for Chanukkah this weekend.
Sufganiya, a Hebrew word, meaning sponge, is what jelly donuts are called on Chanukkah. These are made from two circles of dough, filled with jelly, then smooshed together and..say it with me..fried in oil. These are sweet, soft, sticky and a perfect dessert on a cold winter night.
I am excited to celebrate Chanukkah this year, along side Thanksgiving. With all the classic Thanksgiving foods, plus mix in these delicious Chanukkah foods, I will surely be gaining weight. Luckily I can get all my eating done in one dinner, so I can start my diet on November 29th.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Chanukkah and food. And if you already knew all of this, I hope it just made you really hungry, and really excited for tonight!
Happy Chanukkah and bye from the Veggie Side!