I didn’t know much about Hanukkah until I started dating my wife. Really, my full understanding of it until we got married. Even today, I find myself learning, both from my wife and now my daughter. I’ve become familiar with traditions such as lighting the menorah and playing dreidal.
One of these traditions, I learned, was eating foods cooked in oil, to call to mind the oil that lasted in the temple. Latkes, a potato pancake, are probably the most well known Hannukah food. Another example is jelly donuts. However, if my family was going to fry some donuts, I needed to bring a little Louisiana to the party. Cajuns, after all, enjoy to pas a good time and food, regardless of the origin.
So, for Hanukkah, I made beignets, a French donut. These are most well known as coming from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans (outside of Cajun country). I took my daughter there for the first time a couple years ago.
As much as my mother would like it, however, we can’t hop on a plane to Louisiana every Hanukkah. Making them in my kitchen is the way to go. The first few years I made them, I bought a box of mix from Cafe du Monde. However, as with many things, I’ve gone the from-scratch route, using a recipe from my favorite Louisiana food blog.
Are they the healthiest thing out there? As with most good things in life, not really. I do feel better seeing the eggs, flour and yeast go in, and not something that only really has a latin name. This morning, my wife described it as a “sugar delivery device.” I can see it.