Bloggers, like all writers, can’t always choose their subject. Sometimes a subject chooses you. So while I would prefer to write a light, meaningful or amusing post in honor of Chanukah, you will be reading (if you dare) about a rather heavy subject.
I’m talking about Sufganiyot, the traditional jelly doughnut with its loose connection to the Chanukah miracle, because doughnuts are fried in oil . Bakeries begin offering them about 6 weeks before the holiday and continue until close to Purim about two months afterward.
I haven’t had a single sufganiyah this year, and not (mainly) because I am afraid of the 600 or so calories they each contain. I just don’t like them. Lest you think I’m picky, I enjoy pita, burekas, meat-filled “cigars,” cheesecake, rogelach, chumus, felafel, and matbucha.
At first I feared I must be missing out on something and tried one or two. I am talking about your standard, bakery or supermarket sufganiyah and not the upscale type, which are usually better. But when the standard ones are served people of all ages are reaching for them, except for me. Here’s why:
- The cake part is not sweet enough. Since I generally dislike overly sweet foods, and Israelis love everything sweet, I don’t understand why no one else minds. The filling and powdered sugar just don’t make up for the tasteless dough. Not all of them have filling either.
- The sugary, artificial red filling in the middle is unappetizing.
- I’m allergic to the red food coloring anyway.
- They are too big, especially for kids. My daughter says the ones served at the shul party today were a miniature version (although they looked pretty big to me), so I guess progress is being made.
- They are almost never served at their best, when they are fresh and warm. Considering that this means a window of half an hour from coming out of the pan, there’s not much to do about it most of the time.
- Whenever I eat one, it sits in my stomach like a ton of lead. Indigestible.
I adore the other traditional Chanukah food, latkes, which are potato pancakes fried in oil. I can eat a lot of those. But I make them only once or twice during the week as a side dish, because aside from being a lot of work, reason #6 applies here too. I am getting too old for this kind of thing.
On a different note Chanukah has brought some good news along with the sufganiyot. I’d like to wish Mazal Tov to one of my favorite bloggers and commenters, Lion of Zion, along with the Mrs. and Junior, on the birth of a daughter. LoZ sent me a question by email before the birth so even though I didn’t know the answer, all of us here at MiI share in your simcha.
And Haveil Havalim #247 can be found at The Israel Situation.
Chag sameach—Happy Chanukah to all.