HANUKKAH LOTSA LATKES: CHEF TALK and COOKING PROGRAM on Classic Potato Latkes AND German Apple Fritters
- Kartofl Latke: Ashkenazi Style Crispy Potato Fritters with Celery Leaves and Onions
- Apfelkrapfen: German Style Apple Ring Fritters with Rum and Brown Sugar
Hanukkah (from the old Hebrew verb khanakh meaning “to dedicate”) is an annual Jewish celebration that commemorates the time when a group of Jewish resistance fighters, known as the Maccabees, miraculously won a final battle against their Hellenistic/Greek oppressors and regained control of the Second Temple in 165 B.C.E.
The Second Temple in Jerusalem had been defiled by the Greeks who had set up an altar for their pagan rituals. When the Maccabees reentered the Temple they had to purify it before rededicating it. Pure olive oil was necessary for the seven-branched oil lamp (menorah) to illuminate the Temple each night, but only one sealed vessel containing enough oil to last one night was recovered after the battles. Instead it miraculously lasted for eight nights. For this reason we light a special eight-branched candelabra called a hanukkiah and refer to the eight-day holiday as the Festival of Lights.
As with so many of the Jewish holidays, food and rituals are used as a means to commemorate our history. During Hanukkah, preparing dishes made with oil recalls the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight nights instead of one.
Parsley or celery leaves
All-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
Vegetable, canola, sunflower, or safflower oil
Applesauce and/or sour cream (for serving)
Red and green apples
Whole milk or soy milk
Measuring cups and spoons
Chef’s knife or large chopping knife
Food processor or box grater
3 medium mixing bowls
Electric beater or handheld mixer
2 large plates lined with paper towels
2 Large frying pans or skillets
Thin flexible spatula