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Joan Nathan's Recipes for Classic Hanukkah Dishes

Dec 11, 2004 (Weekend Edition Saturday)

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The cover of Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook

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A Hanukkah feast is not just about the potato latkes. Jewish cuisine expert Joan Nathan shares some other classic recipes for the holiday table.

Nathan's book The Jewish Holiday Kitchen celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and she has just released a new version, Jewish Holiday Cookbook, which encompasses classic dishes from her previous cookbooks with a new generation of recipes.

Nathan joins NPR's Scott Simon for some food tasting and tips. She introduces the "comfort food" of fried noodle pudding, and jelly doughnuts, which she calls "the only true Israeli dish." Simon samples the fried noodles and poppyseed mandelbrot cookies.

Jewish Holiday Cookbook offers an abundance of history along with the food, including an explanation of oil's significance to Hanukkah."The holiday commemorates the Maccabean victory over Antiochus of Syria some twenty-one centuries ago," Nathan writes. "Going to cleanse and rededicate the Temple, the Maccabees found only enough sacred oil to light the menorah for one day. But a miracle occurred, and one day's supply lasted eight."

Many Hanukkah dishes feature oil as a staple ingredient, but that doesn't mean the latkes need to be oil-soaked lumps. Nathan also offers latke-making tips, and offers her suggestion for the one must-serve dish for the Hanukkah table besides fried pancakes.

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