Let There Be Latkes: Eight Reasons Gentiles Should Appreciate Hanukkah, Too

Categories: Holidays

Do you have these at Christmas. DO YOU?
As we all well know from years and years of church and advertising, there are plenty of reasons to appreciate Christmas: Mistletoe, candy canes, presents, Santa, Christmas Lights, presents, holiday songs, holiday drinking, holiday hams, holiday nutcrackers, The Nutcracker ballet, Christmas movies, Christmas cookies, presents, gifts and more gifts and presents.

But what about Hanukkah? The Festival of Lights starts tonight, and I'd like to offer proof of its many gifts to humankind. Brace yourself for some mazel tov, y'all.

beastie boys dreidel.JPG
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, they made it out of whoop ass.
Reason #8: Competitive Dreidel
It's real.

Reason #7: Guilt
As in, if you don't appreciate Hanukkah, all your Jewish friends will give you "that look" and make you eat/choke on a macaroon left over from Passover.

Just say no.
Reason #6: No Fruitcakes
Kugel, yes. Honeycake, sure. But fruitcakes are for punishment, and we already covered that in Reason #7.

Reason #5: Drinking
Christians spike their eggnog with rum and their hot chocolate with schnapps. Jewish folks spike their vodka with vodka and shout L'CHAIM, which sounds really awesome. And another thing: Nearly every Jewish holiday encourages drinking. One even suggests getting so drunk you can't tell the difference between the good guy and the bad guy in the traditional holiday tale. That's a religion worth getting behind.

photo by foodbitch
Reason #4: Chocolate Money
Sure it's advent calendar-quality chocolate, but those gold foil-wrapped discs of chocolate-flavored sugar make paying your bar tab really interesting.

And G-d said, "Let there be fried food!"
Reason #3: Miracles
The story goes like this: There once was a war wherein the small team of obviously not sporty Jews were up against a giant army of eight-foot-tall Heisman trophy winners. And by what can only be explained as miraculous, the scrawny little Jews won. Miracle! Later, they lit a sad little lamp in their demolished temple with only a day's worth of oil, and it lasted eight whole days instead of one. Another miracle! Now they fry shit in oil to celebrate said miracles and eat said fried shit for eight days and nights.

Reason #2: Jews Invented Fried Food. Exhibit A: Doughnuts
What? You didn't know doughnuts were invented by Jews? Look it up. And these special Hanukkah doughnuts aren't the bullshit glazed type. They're big, puffy, jelly-filled and topped with powdered sugar.

Reason #1: Jews Invented Fried Food, Exhibit B: Latkes
They're like regular pancakes, except made of shredded potatoes and fried until you nearly burn your house down. Eat 'em with applesauce, sour cream, or start a fight and eat 'em with ketchup. Either way they'll make you glad you decided to appreciate Hanukkah this year.

Follow City of Ate and foodbitch on Twitter. And join her this Thursday night at the giant menorah lighting in the West Village to test out some of the fried foods mentioned above for free.

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Landmark Magnolia

3699 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX

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dear sweeties, doughnuts and latkes are European food modified to fit Jewish traditions.. Jewish food is like American food. only following Biblical laws.  read Leviticus.  there is Isreali food, Italian jewish food, Persian, Indian and Chinese.  Have you heard the song Jews are every where? Even in Calif. although most deny it.  but i'll tell you that in Israel great food and so healthy.. so enjoy Hanukkah the holiday celebrating religious freedom and the defeat of evil tyrants everywhere..


Regarding the comment on Cindi's (that the writer is more Hebrew than anyone in there).... the branch location on Forest Lane near Marsh, has more Christmas decorations than any business in the area. Linda Hollar

apartments of tel aviv
apartments of tel aviv

seems delicious i love to taste this the chef is a good cook its nice to visit this place to taste this delicious foods

Victor Long
Victor Long

Kinda makes me wonder who comes up with all that stuff. Wow.www.Total-Privacy dot US

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

I miss a good Jewish deli.  Zinsky's was fail, and if Cindi's is any indication, the US couldn't defeat the Viet Cong because we weren't looking in Israel.  Seriously, I'm more Hebrew than anybody working there.


Re: Reason #7, all our Jewish friends? What Jewish friends? I never even had the opportunity to meet a Jewish person until I was nearly 30, and he's non-observant!


You're right, Jews are historically the original deep-fried people. Back in the day, before anybody invented cholesterol, my grandmother used to fry everything in rendered CHICKEN FAT.


Ummm...  pretty sure donuts were invented by the Dutch, and then had holes punched in them by an enterprising American baker.  Look up "olykoek". 

And jelly donuts, or Berliners/Pfannkuchen, are originally German. Sufganiyah, the Israeli version, are pretty clearly derived from those.


those gold foil-wrapped discs of chocolate-flavored sugar..

Those coins are called gelt, hon. I learned that from reading a guy's column over at Unfair Park. His name is Robert Wilonsky. You might have heard of him.

Margie Hubbard
Margie Hubbard

I'm always jealous of other people's holiday traditions.  I want it all!!!


I think Tone wa making some Latkes the other night, according to his twitter feed.  Whaddayasay Tone, bring some for the office and all of us CoA commenters?


Around Dallas your best bet right now is Gio's. Their meat comes from Carnegie. 


@NatWu they are all around you but hiding in plain sight. would you know one if you met one?

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

Mrs. Tone was. Potato and and zucchini. They were for tonight. We'll see what's left.

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