Do you know why we eat cranberries with turkey? Or what mincemeat pies have to do with Christmas? I don't know, either. But I do recognize that in Jewish households, the food on the table usually has a specific connection to the holiday on which it is served. Here's a typical festive dinner for Hanukkah. Can you guess the reasons behind the choices?
- Roasted beet salad with mixed greens--Roasting makes beets release their sugar
- Braided challah--a symbol of the intertwined relationships in the Hebrew tradition
- Whole baked fish (flounder or salmon) and whole beef brisket--both speak of abundance
- Potato latkes with homemade applesauce--fried in hot oil, a reminder of the miracle of the oil
- Cheese blintzes with sour cream--a reference to the story of Judith, who saved her people by over-feeding the enemy leader with cheese and then cutting off his head.
- Roasted carrots--these, too, become very sweet when roasted
- Tiny green beans with fried onions--more items fried in hot oil
- Sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts)--a triple threat: sweet, fried in oil, and filled with jelly surprise.
- Rugelach--another pastry filled with sweetness.