Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Fan Club: Hanukkah (and Holiday) Traditions

With it's early start date this year (Dec. 1st!), Hanukkah definitely snuck up on me and I am scrambling to dream up of eight nights of fried food or other fun to celebrate the Great Miracle. Although latkes are the traditional Hanukkah food, technically you are remembering the "oil," so any food either fried in oil or featuring oil can be celebratory. Newfangled takes on Hanukkah food include Olive Oil cakes, Wild Arugula Salad, and Lemon-Infused Raspberry Jam Donuts (Sufganiyot). Last night, we tried our own new recipe: fried plantains with a fruit and cilantro salsa. Delicious!

Many Jewish holidays are centered around ceremonial foods, which I think is one of the main reasons the traditions keep getting passed on. Everyone wants to have Bubbe's special recipe at least once a year, or learn how to craft it themselves. As Joan Nathan wrote recently, in an effort to stay connected, some families Fed-Ex honey cake or chicken soup to grandchildren. The holidays remind us what is important: food, family, and tradition. As One Hungry Mama (one of my favorite food bloggers) notes,
This is what food is about. History, connection, family, friends (old and new) and celebrating our similarities and differences. The miracles of life... During this time of year, food takes its rightful place in our life: right smack dab in the center. Conjuring memories, creating new ones and bringing us together. One Hungry Mama, 12.01.10
Even my oldest child, at only 15, is waxing nostalgic for things past this holiday season. Last night, my husband was wondering if he could wrangle our friend into coming over to make his famous latkes this year, and absent himself from latke duty. My son would have none of it. "But you make the best latkes, Dad!!!" So newfangled recipes be damned, I guess we have to schedule our own latke-fest into the busy weekend.  Wouldn't have it any other way, really.

Hanukkah Latkes with Jeniifer of Prefectly Disheveled and lovely musings on holiday foods, One Hungry Mama 12.01.10
Sweet and Light, New recipes for Hanukkah, Melissa Petitto, Tablet Magazine, 12.1.10 
Family Ties: football, food and the importance of tradition, Joan Nathan, Tablet Magazine, 11.18.10

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