This evening, we lit the last of our Hanukkah candles — three menorahs blazing their brightest on this dark, cold, December night.
We actually own six menorahs, but choose just a few to light every year. There’s the tiny brass one my grandfather gave me when I was born, and the small one with inlaid colored tiles from Israel that my Hebrew tutor gave me just before my Bat Mitzvah; there’s the one shaped like a train we bought for Hyla on her first Hanukkah, the traditional one my parents gave us one year, and the modern metal and glass one my mother bought for us on one of her last visits to Vermont, after I’d admired it at the local glass store. And there’s one very old one, from a grandmother or great grandmother on my mother’s side. No one seems to know whose it was; all we know is that Mom thought it was special enough to claim among the very few objects she wanted from her parents’ house after they died.
Old and new.
Aside from lighting menorahs, our favorite Hanukkah tradition is making and eating latkes. For this, we use the old, tried and true recipe. The same one we’ve made for years.
For years, since the very first Hanukkah M and I celebrated together, we used the vegetable shredding attachment for our KitchenAid mixer to grate the potatoes and onions for the latkes. The resulting texture was perfect.
Then one day, when Mom and I were shopping at our local baking supply store, I pointed out a powerful looking Viking mixer that I was coveting. A week or so after Mom went home, the mixer arrived, unexpectedly, at our doorstep.
We kept both mixers for a long time, but it seemed greedy to have two, so we donated the KitchenAid with all its wonderful attachments to a good cause.
Now we grate our potatoes and onions with the food processor, and the latkes are really good. But maybe not quite as good.
Old and new.
This year, after seeing a sufganiyot recipe on the Salt and Serenity blog, I decided to give it a try. Like latkes, sufganiyot (donuts) are a traditional Hanukkah treat because they are fried in oil, which commemorates the miracle of the Temple oil lasting a full eight days.
The recipe is simple and flawless. The sufganiyot turn out fluffy and delicate and not at all greasy. A couple in the hand make a perfect dessert for a holiday meal.
Something new that will become a tradition, I think.
The candles have burned themselves out now, and the menorahs are dark. Soon it will be time to clean off the dripped wax and pack the menorahs away for next year.
The old year is winding down to a gentle, snow-blanketed close. Let the new year come.