The Big Felafel



Hanukah is about Oil and Oil is about Fat

Americans like to think that Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with lots of food. Forget counting calories, it is more about counting serving after serving. It is a holiday where you know to wear pants that give a little or at least ones that you can unbutton after you stuffed yourself to the maximum potential of stuffing (with stuffing- good one).But as part of the transition to life in Israel, you give up Thanksgiving just not the fat part. Hanukah is a time of cheer, candling lighting fun and fat fatty fat. Yes, it appears that since the candles were lit with oil, we Jews have figured out a way to take the oil from the candles and literally spread it on our food for eight days.

About three weeks before the eight days of Hanukah, every bakery in town is baking the deep fried powdered donut with a jelly filling, or more creatively with caramel, chocolate and even white chocolate. Suddenly all of Jerusalem (maybe even Israel) reeks of sweet donut smells and you can’t escape your cravings for a bite of oily goodness.

So while Thanksgiving is loaded with fatty treats it is only one day- where as Hanukah is the ultimate fat holiday with eight days of latkes, fried donuts and chocolate gelt. Not to mention Hanukah parties where hosts make sure to offer you donut after donut- forget pants with buttons to let loose in, you really need drawstring pants that allow for belly growth to the size of a bowling ball.

So how many Sufganiot does the average Hanukah loving Jew eat in Israel – I don’t have the answer but I do have a confession from a friend that shall remain anonymous- she said:

“Molly, I walk out of my house and to the bus stop. On my way I stop at the first bakery I see to buy myself just one donut. But then I get off the bus and smell the sweet sweet air and buy another. But then I think, maybe I should buy two. The problem is there are so many flavors so I end up buying one of each. Well except for the one I really like- that I buy two of. Now if I did this once a week it wouldn’t be so bad, but actually I do it about 3 or 4 times. And with the bakeries baking donuts for almost a month before the holiday, I would say I have become a real addict. I can’t wait for the holiday to be over- do you think they will have sales on Sufganiot?”

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