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Six sinfully delicious Hanukkah food staples

© Anatoly Michaelov

Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach…Hanukkah!

We’ve had our Yom Kippur cleanse, done all our healthy Sukkot harvesting, and now, it’s time for the good, the bad and the ugly that make up our festive Hanukkah feast. You won’t find those high-class chef deconstructions that take both the potato and the pancake out of the latke, nor the vegan, health-nut, non-fat, no-good sweet potato and baked zucchini versions here. No, no. We’re going back to the four classic Hanukkah food groups: oil, starch, sugar and well, oil. Here are six sinful foods you’ll encounter on this artery-clogging holiday.

1. Chocolate Gelt

chocolate coins


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…more like chocolate guilt. These foil wrapped coins taste more like the leftover wax drippings off the menorah than anything chocolate. They’re a great gambling tool for the children to play the Dreidel game you say? Not when you’re little brother eats every last one of his golden ‘chips’ before you’ve even spun a Gimel. Whoever thought mixing candy and betting was a good idea was clearly (sugar) high at the time.

2. Latkes


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Over two thousand years ago, we became ecstatic over the tiniest drops of oil that burned for eight whole nights. So what do we do to commemorate this miracle of light? Turn to gluttony, finding every possible artery-clogging food item that could be drenched, submerged and fried in oil – only to complain about indigestion for the remainder of December.

3. Applesauce


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Of course! Let’s toss some fruit on our potato pancakes. Then we can disguise them as a healthy life choice. No Jewish holiday is complete without apples in some way, shape or form. As sufganiyot have stolen the apple’s streak after an impressive ‘Rosh Hashanah—Yum Kippur—Sukkot’ run, the autumn fruit wiggled its way into the big leagues: the main course. When store-bought, this ‘accoutrement’ gets a bad rep. However, a good homemade apple or apple-pear sauce can make or break a latke lover’s Hanukkah meal.

4. Sour Cream

latke love

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An underestimated player in the festive food game, this everyday staple could be just the thing to elevate your latke eating experience to the next level. A dollop of rich sour cream can be the ‘basic’ solution to post-greasy goodness heartburn (both literally and figuratively)…or at the least help that third helping slide down a little easier. 

5. Brisket


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For all those carnivorous older brothers who complain the starch-heavy latke dinner isn’t sufficient protein, God gave us brisket. Get out your Safta’s faded recipe card and start braising. Might as well try to lessen the impact of the lingering fried oil smell that sticks to the walls of your kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom and entire house well into the New Year. 

6. Sufganiyot


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No need to hide them behind some fancy Hebrew name for ‘sponge’. Whether filled with luscious dulce de leche or traditional jelly that will stain your one white family dinner blouse red (good thing Yom Kippur – the holiday of white clothing – is a good eight months away), at the end of the day, these deep fried balls of dough are the perfect palate cleanser after tapping out at latke round five. Let loose! Indulge a little. It’s not like they’ve been in every window display in Israel for the past month and a half.
Yummm…worth every sinful bite. Now throw back the antacids, clean up and sleep it off – one indigestion day down, seven to go.