Blogmas Day 19: Hanukkah Traditions and How to Make Latkes!

Hey guys! I am super excited for today’s post! I had the pleasure of learning a little bit about Hanukkah yesterday, and how to make traditional potato latkes from my friend, Carolyn, and I’m all the wiser for it.

Some things about Hanukkah you may not know?

Jewish holidays occur on a lunar calendar. What does that mean? Well, Jewish holidays technically start and end on the same day each year based on a lunar calendar, but that’s give or take a few days on a ‘western’ calendar.

This year, Hanukkah began on the evening of Sunday, December 2nd, and ended on the evening of Monday, December 10th.

My friend says this is the most hilarious and millennially accurate Hanukkah meme:

meme.png

That being said, here’s the deal: Long, long ago, Israel was ruled by King Antiochus. The king did not want to rule different people, different religions, and different ways of life. He abolished Judaism. A brave group of people called the Maccabees (much smaller in number than the king’s army) refused to give up their religion and way of life, and fought to take back their Temple in the city of Jerusalem. The Maccabees were successful in taking back their Temple, and after a thorough cleansing, on the 25th day of the month of Kislev (the first day of Hanukkah now), they held a rededication ceremony for the Temple. On the rededication night, there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, but miraculously, it burned for eight days.

When it comes to Jewish holidays, Hanukkah might take a backseat to Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover. However, Carolyn says it’s still among her more favorite times of year because in combination with Christmas (which she personally doesn’t celebrate), the general social morale is much more friendly and warm. She celebrates Hanukkah with a yearly party that she throws with her roommate. It’s all about spending time with family and friends, eating traditional foods (her mom makes beautiful cookies!), singing traditional Hebrew songs, and the yearly gift from her family: a dreidel.

Some fun things to know about dreidels:

They are used in betting games. There’s usually a pot of chocolate coins, and based on what you spin, you could win half the pot, the whole pot, nothing, or even have to add one to the pot!

dreidel

Dreidels have letters on them that translate to, “A Great Miracle Happened There,” however (and this is so interesting!!!), if you were to find a dreidel in Israel, it would have letters that translate to, “A Great Miracle Happened Here.” How cool!!

Yesterday, Carolyn shared with myself and all of our coworkers how to make traditional potato latkes. These are kind of like flat hash brown pancakes, fried in oil (a nod to the Hanukkah story!), and while I didn’t try any because of my pesky stomach, the resounding feedback was: mmmmmmm. How can you make your own?

You’ll need (to serve about 20 people):

  • Two 20oz. packages of refrigerated hash browns (found in the refrigerated section near the butter, eggs, etc.)
  • 1/2 12 oz. package of frozen chopped onions
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Apple sauce and/or sour cream to serve with
  • Skillet
  • Paper towels, serving dish, large spoon, tongs, and spatula!

IMG_3863

Directions:

  1. Mix hash browns, onions, eggs, flour, baking powder  and 1 tsp of salt in a large bowl using a spatula or your hands. Mix until all flour is absorbed.
  2. Cover the bottom of your skillet in 1/4 to 1/2 inch of olive oil and heat to about 400 degrees on an electric skillet, or until oil is hot on stovetop.
  3. Once oil is hot, use a spoon to scoop small, flat portions of your mixture into the skillet. It should start to sizzle! Cook until golden and crispy on both sides, flipping occasionally with spatula or tongs.
  4. Once golden, remove and place your patties propped up on a serving dish lined with layered paper towels, so the oil will drain out, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt/pepper.
  5. Once the latkes have drained, remove paper towels/place on fresh serving dish, add apple sauce or sour cream and enjoy! 

So thankful to Carolyn for sharing some of her Hanukkah traditions with me, and I hope you enjoyed this too! Do you have any fun holiday traditions you’re looking forward to? I would love to know!

xoxo Leigh Ann

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Maker of artish things. TV junkie. Where's the pizza?

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