“Hanukkah is the festival of lights instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights.” As Adam Sandler so eloquently reminds us in his song, Hanukkah truly is one of the most magical holidays. Why, you may ask?

courtesy of giphy.com

Sorry to disappoint, but that’s not part of the story.

The story follows the Maccabees who, after reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem and hoping to purify it by burning ritual oil for eight days, had only enough oil left for one day. Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights because this tiny amount of oil was able to keep the flame lit for eight nights.

Holidays can be confusing, especially ones that seem to be spelled differently depending on the day. Buzzfeed recently came out with a hilarious video in which Christians try to explain the festival of lights. There was much uncertainty, including the tragic exchange of the word “dreidel” for “ladle.” Even latkes were mistakenly confused with *gasp* mere hash browns. So, to avoid any further confusion and to save those of you who will be attending a Hanukkah party, I have compiled a glossary of Hanukkah-related food words. Because what’s a holiday without a feast to go along with it? It is traditional to eat foods fried in oil on Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle. Eight full days of fried foods. Mmmm.

1. Latkes:

Latkes are probably the most revered of Hanukkah foods. This shredded potato goodness is deep-fried and can be served with savory, sour or sweet condiments; I personally recommend applesauce. If your feeling ambitious, try out one of these mouth-watering latke recipes.

Very important: don’t call them hash browns; they are much, much more than that.

hanukkah food

courtesy of toriavey.com.


2. Gelt:

Chocolate coins wrapped in gold tinfoil. How do you score this delicious treat? By betting correctly on which side the dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, will land. Impress your Jewish friends with your knowledge by sharing with them that the four letters stand for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham: “A great miracle happened there.”

If you’re the kind of player who take everyone’s coins, including the little kids, and shows no mercy when they cry because of their loss, then you’re sure to have a lot of leftover coins. Check out this recipe for spiced hot chocolate so you can actually do something useful with your gelt.

hanukkah food

courtesy of elcivics.com


3. Sufganiyot:

Also known as jelly doughnuts, these deep-fried (of course) jelly-filled puffs are topped with powdered sugar. If they’re homemade, get ready because you’re in for a real treat.

hanukkah food

courtesy of wikimedia.org.


4. Loukoumades:

Keeping in tradition with deep-frying foods, these honey puffs are soaked in sugar syrup with added honey and cinnamon flavoring. They are mainly popular among Sephardic Jews from the Mediterranean region but they should be a staple on everyone’s Hanukkah table.

hanukkah food

courtesy of allaboutcuisines.com.


5. Brisket:

If there was no brisket at the table, then did the Jewish festivities even occur? This flavorful meat became popular in Jewish culture early on. Despite taking a very, very long time to cook (seriously, you’ll have to prepare it for days), the resulting explosion of delicious taste is quite worthwhile. Brisket can be cooked with a range of different flavors — tomato sauce, sweet-and-sour sauce, sauerkraut, barbecue, onions — and it will be a crowd pleaser regardless. However, keep in mind that everyone says their own mother’s is the best, so if you prepare the dish you’ll have to settle with hearing: “This is really delicious, almost as good as my ma’s.”

hanukkah food

courtesy of epicuris.com.


So however you wish to spell it, enjoy this festive holiday with family, friends, a knowledge of all this delicious cuisine and, most importantly, with latkes.