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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

Last week, we discovered the best Hanukkah book ever: The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Storyby Lemony Snicket (author of the A Series of Unfortunate Eventsbooks). The illustrations are adorable and the story is hysterical.

Unfortunately, Alex doesn't seem to be ready for the book just yet. Instead, he prefers the board book we got a couple of years ago at my friend Jessica's recommendation: The Story of Chanukahby Francis Barry Silberg and Pamela R. Levy. As Marc reminds me every year, Hanukkah would be a very popular holiday - especially with boys - if the Jews winning the war aspect were emphasized instead of the kad shemen (the one-day's supply of oil that miraculously lasted for eight). This board book does a good job summarizing the war and explaining how it's connected to the lighting of the menorah.

Each year, I make these Sweet Potato Latkes (leaving out the scallions, since neither of us cares for them). When time is an issue, I grate the sweet potatoes ahead of time and store them in a covered colander set in a bowl. This has the added advantage of eliminating excess moisture. I highly recommend these, particularly if, like us, you're not especially fond of regular latkes.

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  • At 12/5/07, 5:10 AM, Anonymous said…

    I just heard about the screaming latke book too and wanted to get it for my little guys! It sounds so cute. I was thinking the same thing- that it might be a little over their heads at this age.
    You must be reading my mind because I was just about to do a search for a sweet potato latke recipe. My husband is jewish and we celebrate both Hannukah and Xmas. I thought that using sweet potato might actually make the latkes semi healthy!

  • At 12/5/07, 5:22 AM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @aande - I recommend the book for yourself and your husband - we are totally loving it. Marc reads it aloud to me and I laugh every time. And yup, that was why I started making sweet potato latkes, but I've genuinely come to prefer the taste :D

  • At 12/5/07, 7:39 PM, Blogger Frugal Duchess said…

    Hey CFO:

    My youngest is 9, so I wonder if she'll still like those Chanukah books that you have mentioned.
    They sound cute.

    Tonight we had latkes: basic recipe with lots of curry.

    Happy Chanukah!

  • At 12/5/07, 9:22 PM, Blogger Andrew said…

    Happy Chanukah to you too, Cathy! And I haven't heard about that screaming latke book before! I must be living in a cave or something. I'm so running out to the mall and picking it up! My kids will love it i bet.

    And I don't think we've ever tried sweet potato latkes... Interesting. But why on earth would you want to make them... gasp... healthy!??! Isnt that the whole fun of Chanukah? :)

  • At 12/6/07, 9:43 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    Sharon - I bet your daughter would love the book. It's cute, but not childish, if that makes sense. Your latkes sound wonderful - I never thought of making them spicy, but I love the idea. I'll have to find something other than curry though - Marc hates it! :D

    Andrew - Thanks! I'm sure your kids will love the book (especially if they like Lemony Snicket). And the sweet potato latkes taste amazing - so much more flavor than regular potato ones that I almost never eat those anymore. Give it a try! And come out of your cave ;)

  • At 12/8/07, 11:56 AM, Anonymous said…

    Thanks for contributing this article to this week's Carnival of Family Life, hosted at, the so-called me, on Monday, December 10, 2007! We have many other wonderful entries, so stop by and read a few!

    Interested in hosting the Carnival? The schedule is posted at, Colloquium.


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