When I was a kid, I always looked forward to Hanukkah with its eight nights of lighting candles, singing songs and best of all, exchanging gifts. Like all Jewish celebrations, food also played a major role.On all other nights my little sisters, brother and I had to eat healthy foods like steamed broccoli, but during these eight crazy nights we got to indulge in several special treats that were forbidden during the rest of the year. My personal Hanukkah food favorites included:
Latkes - Gorgeously golden potato pancakes fried in oil to remind us of the miracle of the Hanukkah story, whereas a tiny amount of oil kept the ritual lamp burning for eight days instead of one. As a kid, I much preferred the texture of the fried-mashed-potato-like-latkes made from a boxed mix over the homemade shredded potato variety. Call me crazy.
Sufganiyot - cinnamon sugar doughnuts deep-fried in - you guessed it - loads of oil, again to remind us of the Hanukkah story miracle.
Chocolate Gelt - Yiddish for money, these golden tin-foil wrapped milk chocolate coins represent the small coins traditionally given to young children as part of the holiday celebration.
Sugar Cookies - My mom's six-pointed-Star-of-David-shaped cookies dusted with blue sugar were one of the greatest hits in my household and at my school. Mom - if you're reading this, I'd love the original recipe!
Although my taste buds have changed over the years (I've actually learned to love that steamed broccoli), one of my favorite Hanukkah foods is still the potato latke. Nowadays, however, I much prefer a lighter, crispier version made from scratch vs. the box-mix version. (But if it's the latter you're looking for, we've got a brand-new "clean" potato pancake mix in our stores this year.)I usually make my latkes with a combination of shredded sweet potato and white potato with a little grated onion, salt and pepper, lightly pan-fried in a tablespoon or two of olive oil and then finished off in the broiler for extra crispiness. This year, I plan on serving my latkes with heaps of homemade ginger applesauce.
If like me, you're now getting hungry for more holiday foods, check out our website for a slew of festive holiday recipes and menu ideas including this happening Hanukkah spread.Now that I've shared some of my favorite holiday eats; I'd love to hear yours. As a kid, what foods did you look forward to eating during the eight crazy nights of Hanukkah, the twelve days of Christmas, the seven days of Kwanzaa, etc.?What edible delights will strike your fancy this holiday season?