We are deep into the heart of Channukah (the Jewish holiday of lights), which began Friday night and lasts 8 days. As one of our offices resident Jews, I am often approached by gentiles in our office, as to what the proper etiquette is regarding all-things-Jewish.
Recently, a number of people have approached me, as they were invited, over the weekend, to attend Channukah parties... and they wondered "should I bring something"... and if I should bring something... was there a traditional food that they could bring.
Well, the truth of the matter is, there really isn't a truly traditional "Channukah Food" to bring... but there are a couple of items that come mighty close.
A quick explanation of Channukah
Channukah is a minor holiday, commemorating the reclaiming of the Temple in Jerusalem from the Romans. When the temple was regained, they went into the sanctuary and found they only had enough oil to light the "eternal light" (one of the holiest of holy things in the temple) and it likely wasn't enough for even one night.
They sent runners off into the countryside to try to get pure oil (not just any oil would do) to keep the flame going. It took 8 nights for the runners to return with the proper oil... and miracle of miracles... the eternal light burned all 8 of those nights... on only a dropful of oil. A miracle, right?
explanation over... you can wake up now.
So... you can see that the holiday of Channukah rotates around "oil" as it's central thought... so we look for foods cooked in oil.
Two foods that have become associated with Channukah are "Latkes" (LOT- kuhs)... potato pancakes, fried with oil... very popular and often served with applesauce and/or sour cream. And a more modern, more Israeli Channukah food, is Soofganiyot. (okay, we'll say it slowly... say it with me... SOOF-GAN-EEE-OT!)....
Soofganiot is a Hebrew word for "doughnuts"... and Soofganiot are made of a yeast bread, fried in oil, (and typically filled with fruit filling).
Now... if invited to a Channukah celebration... if you bring either of these items... you'll be considered a Channukah Maven (expert), and a welcome guest. Please note, if the hosts "keep kosher" (Jewish dietary laws), make sure that any Soofganiyot that you might buy are marked KOSHER, not Kosher-style.
Oh... and what's up with the "Soofganiyot of Doom", from the headline??? These things are loaded with fat and cholesterol!!! OY VAY, I'm DOOMED!