The Jew And The Carrot

A Hanukkah Recipe Lesson

By Sylvia Fallas

  • Print
  • Share Share
Courtesy of Sylvia Fallas
Every November, the stores start piping in holiday music. Santa is everywhere and the shelves are stocked with eggnog, candy canes and shiny decorations. The Hanukkah section is relegated to a small section in Target; some blue paper plates and a box of latkes mix. Last year I ignored it, this year with my daughter coming home from preschool covered in silver and blue glitter, marching like a Maccabee, ignorance was not bliss. I wanted to instill her in her that Hanukah is awesome, and give her an early sense of her Jewish identity.

So, this Hanukah, I decided my pre-schooler and I would go nuts. Old enough to be involved, we went shopping- silver tinsel, an extra menorah, flour, sugar, cookie cutters and sprinkles were all purchased and waiting for Hanukah break. We decorated the house, rolled out dreidel cookies, set up the menorahs, and fried latkes…. And it was only day one of vacation. The only thing left to do was make sufganiyot.

See, I’m a fairly accomplished home cook, but yeast and I have a volatile relationship. My challahs taste like lead, my babkas are chocolate puddles, and let’s not start with pizza dough. My daughter was bugging me about sufganiyot, singing a song that she learned in school. So on day two of vacation, I figured we’d attack and conquer. How hard could it be? I wouldn’t even have to knead the dough, we had the KitchenAid to do that. (Let it be known: bring out the heavy equipment and the toddler crowd comes running. Could be water and flour spinning in there, but to the littles, it’s the equivalent to eight days of burning oil.)

With all the ingredients bought and ready, there was one thing left to do. It was time to find a recipe. Toddlers and sputtering oil are not a match made in heaven, so I decided to try my hand at some baked donuts. Google led me to a “tried and true” recipe by a famous chef. Out came the flour, yeast, sugar, oil, measuring spoons, and patience. We scooped flour and sugar, counting in English and Hebrew. (Using a 1/4cup measure- so many more scoops that way!) The dough sat to rise, and we sat too, watching it puff slowly, poking at it every so often. My daughter thought this was the miracle of miracles- the dough puffs up!

Finally, after endless waiting, the sufganiyot came out, golden and smelling delicious. After a quick dusting in cinnamon sugar (not only the donuts, but again, the whole kitchen too) we were ready to dig in. And we did.

One bite and the look on our faces was priceless. They were absolutely AWFUL. Leaden, bitter, starchy rocks. There was no salvaging these bombs. This was a total recipe failure. No amount of cinnamon sugar, raspberry jelly, or molten chocolate could have saved these monstrosities.

As a mom and cook, I was so upset. I failed myself by creating a most disgusting donut. But I looked down at my smiling kid tapping her foot singing a latkes song, and it hit me. It’s not about how the donuts tasted. It’s about that tiny human scooping flour, flinging cinnamon sugar, singing dreidel songs, and telling me that Morah is going to be proud of her. In that moment I knew that my Jewish identity was stuck on my sleeve.

Maybe the donuts didn’t work out. But my daughter was thrilled to make Hanukah treats and tell her class. That’s definitely more important than a short lived treat. I guess I could proudly say that Passover is my holiday. There’s definitely no yeast to get in the way.

Sylvia Fallas is a 20-something Jewish mom, living and playing tea-party in Brooklyn. Experimenting in the kitchen is her passion, and she’s always up for an adventure.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sufganiyot, kids, baking, Hanukkah

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.