December isn’t just for Christmas. Hannukah often falls within the month as well. This eight day, eight night Jewish holiday celebrates the successful liberation of the holy temple in Jerusalem. It’s also referred to as the Festival of Lights, in part because a one-day supply of oil was able to light a menorah in the Temple for eight days.
Because of this miracle of the oil, traditional holiday foods are often fried in oil. The most commonly known dish (and most popular) is the latke. I mean, who doesn’t love potatoes fried in oil? It’s like a rosti but shaped like a pancake! I grew up eating these. Traditional latkes have grated potatoes, onions, egg and flour, but new versions are coming out, made with different root veggies, like grated zucchini, sweet potato, or squash. The list goes on and on. Latkes are traditionally served with either applesauce or sour cream. I love them both and cannot/will not choose a favorite! It all depends on my mood!
I also want to give a shout out to sufganiyot, which are soft, fluffy ball-shaped donuts stuffed with jelly goodness. They are found in Jewish bakeries during this time of the year and they Rock! Sufganiyot comes from the Hebrew word sponge, since the dough hits the oil and just soaks it . The thought of that makes me smile. I also love how families come together during this holiday and cook and eat together, eat. Food is basis of so many holidays around the world. I love it!
Live in New York City? Here are some places you can go to get latkes or jelly donuts:
- Polish GI
- Russ and Daughters (will also ship anywhere nationwide)
- Karloff. Brooklyn
- Mile End Deli
- 2nd Ave Deli
- Yonah Schimmel Knisheria
- Holyland Market
Or order online:
Plus, get Cooking Channel’s full Hanukkah Menu here.
Eden Grinshpan graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in London with the “Grande Diplome” in both Pastry and Cuisine. After graduating she went to India to volunteer with different organizations, one of them being an orphanage called Ramanas Garden. Here she came up with the idea of raising money for the orphanage by re-opening a café, which had not been in operation for some time, and teaching the children the basics of culinary cuisine. After returning to New York City, Eden enrolled in a management program at The Institute of Culinary Education before working at the bakery, Babycakes. Eden is the co-owner of EthNicitY Productions, and hosts Eden Eats, a traveling show to find global cuisine in cities across the US. Check out Eden’s blog, Eden Eats, and follow Eden on Facebook and @EdenEats on Twitter.