Hanukkah lights the way

As the season draws near, it's worth celebrating with traditional and tasty dishes

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In about a week's time, Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of rededication, will begin.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah observes the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek armies in the Temple in Jerusalem and celebrates the miraculous burning of the lamp oil for eight days. (When the temple was rededicated, there was oil enough for only one day.)

During Hanukkah, Jewish families will light candles in a menorah, play Hanukkah games such as those played with a dreydel, give gifts, and eat traditional holiday foods.

Hanukkah's commemoration of the miracle of the lamp oil makes eating food cooked in oil of particular significance, with latkes (potato pancakes) topping the list.

Anyone at all who has sampled crisply fried latkes will tell you they are best eaten with either applesauce or sour cream and are deliciously addictive.

Should you be looking for a few other things to fill out the Hanukkah table besides latkes, chicken liver pat or glazed Cornish game hens are just two alternatives to the usual chopped chicken liver canaps and pot-roasted beef brisket.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas, food enjoyed during special holidays will continue to reunite us with time-honored traditions and cherished memories.

On Hanukkah, and throughout the holiday season, linger at the dining table, reminisce with family and friends over homemade food made from passed-down family recipes, and if, by chance, you are just beginning to create some food-related memories of your own, start with the latkes.

Sue Ade is a gourmet baker and collector of vintage cooking utensils and cookbooks. She can be reached at sueade@aol.com or 683-0375.

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