Hanukkah: The Festival of Oily Food

hanukkah-miracleSo, that right there, via NPR.org’s Sandwich Monday series, is Dan Pashman‘s contribution: the Hanukkah Miracle.

It seems appropriate to share this, as tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish Festival of Lights, although I do so with the following disclaimer:

WARNING: This post, if the above photo hasn’t already done so, may induce the following side effects: learning, laughter, salivation, craving, hunger, or, depending on one’s personal dietary inclinations, disgust, nausea, projectile vomiting.

As Dan explains:

Hanukkah celebrates a miracle at the ancient Temple on a night when the Jews thought they had only enough oil to light the candles for that one evening. To their delight, the oil lasted eight miraculous nights, and that’s why foods cooked in oil are a common part of the Hanukkah observance…

American Jews eat fried potato pancakes (latkes), but in Israel, Jews celebrate with a different oily, fried food — doughnuts. I’ve brought these two customs together to create a new sandwich: the Hanukkah Miracle.

Here’s how you make it: Slice a glazed yeast doughnut in half and fry it in butter. Flip it inside out, spread sour cream on the bottom and applesauce on the top, and insert a potato pancake. (You want the sour cream closer to your tongue to accentuate its flavor.)

Now, I grew up in a latke household, and what Mr. Pashman doesn’t explain is that latkes are usually served with applesauce and sour cream. And, while I LOVE this, to some, bizarre combination of ingredients, the thought of stuffing those three elements between a glazed doughnut that has been fried in butter…

…yeah, here comes the nausea.

I do recommend you check out Dan’s piece at NPR.org, although with one more warning: it contains a graphic photo depicting his 4-year old daughter consuming the Hanukkah Miracle.

Dakar: Coolest Place Name On The Planet?

Oh, don’t be fooled by appearances.

The capital of Senegal, Dakar, might look like it’s pronounced dä-kär, as Merriam-Webster suggests.

But if, like me, you spend anytime listening to BBC World Service or even National Public Radio, you’ll hear it pronounced MUCH differently, and that difference, in my humble opinion, makes it one of the coolest place names on the planet.

See, any self-respecting radio journalist pronounces Dakar so that it sounds something like this (æ = “a” as in cat):


Just listen to this report on an annual Senegalese beauty contest…for sheep.

Now, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, does a passable job with the pronunciation, there’s a touch of the dramatic extension of the æ sound, but when you hear correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton pronounce it, you hear SO much more, putting the cool factor over the top.

At the hands of the master, the “k” in Dakar, to my ears, is pronounced more like “kh”, and the ending æh has a touch of the guttaral in it, vaguely reminding me, for some reason, of The Castle Aaaaaargh scene in Monty Python & The Holy Grail.

Anyway, check out the NPR piece to hear Dakar in action.

It’s a cute story, too.