Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hanukkah, Peace

There is no rest for the holiday weary.  Not that I am holiday weary yet, it just seems that since Hanukkah is early this year, started yesterday actually, that there is little breathing room between the last feast day and the next.   Not that I am complaining, who doesn't like to feast?

Someone on a low calorie diet that is who, namely Chef and I.  We are both loosing weight like mad, but it makes the holiday season somewhat torturous.  We indulge when indulgence is due, take last Thursday for example.  But Hanukkah is an 8 day holiday, and what is traditionally eaten?  Fried Food.

You know the story.  Jerusalem was taken by the Syrians, the Jewish holy temple with it, back in 168 B.C.E.  The temple was dedicated to the worship of Zeus, and in his honor they often sacrificed pigs.  The Jews began to resist the invaders.  The resistance began in the village of Modin, where the Syrian High Priest forced the Jewish community to eat pig, which was against their religion because pig was seen as filthy.  One young man , Mattahis refused and fled to the mountains where the Jewish resistance movement grew.  They revolted, came down from the mountains and took back their temple.  In an effort to purify it they lit the menorah, which had a teeny tiny bit of oil.   Back in those days it took 8 days of candle light to purify a space, and the little bit of oil lasted just that long.

The oil was considered a miracle, hence the fried food which surrounds the holiday.  What better way to celebrate oil than to fry dough or potatoes in? Potato latkes are hands down my favorite holiday food, cranberry sauce a close second.  I just had a revelation...latkes and cranberry relish. Sounds like Heaven, if you believe in that sort of thing.

The other 7 nights of Hanukkah we will honor oil and peace with a little drizzle of olive oil over a salad or chicken for the grill.  Olive oil. Olive branch.  Dieting or not, I think we could all do with a little more olive oil in our lives, and peace for that matter. 

We live in a nation that is at war.  2 wars.  Peace is something that should be on everyone's mind this holiday season, don't you think?


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