Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. You may know I’m not Jewish, but I do love eating my way around the world and enjoying traditional foods of other cultures. I think it’s the best way to get to know people who are different than ourselves while relating–because in many ways we are the same.
Whatever our culture, we all have values and beliefs that are important to us…and we all eat. It makes the world feel a little smaller when we are able to respect others’ values and beliefs even if we don’t share them. (As the original melting-pot culture, we could do this more often!)
And when we show interest in others, share a table together, and try new things, we are making ourselves vulnerable and well, life meaningful!
Frankly, sometimes what we eat isn’t even all that different–I find that so comforting! Or maybe it’s just the carbs…but take bread, for example. I love how many cultures have some version of a food that is traditional and similar, yet different.
- Pita bread (Greek or Middle Eastern),
- naan (India)
- Italian bread,
- baguette (French),
- the spongy (Ethiopian) flatbread called injera
- and of course, America has corn bread…or Wonder bread (kind of embarrassing, but it’s probably most representative of our culture)?
Well, then there’s also Jewish challah bread. My daughter has a new friend from school who is from Israel, and her mother shared this delicious freshly-baked loaf of challah with me last Friday! And these new friends also invited us into their home this week to share a meal to learn more about how they celebrate Hanukkah…such a generous invitation and I am really looking forward to it!
Of course you may have noticed I don’t eat a lot of bread because I try to avoid overly processed and refined carbohydrates. So when I do, it has to be worth it…this is worth trying and I’m hoping I have time to make French toast out of it for “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) on Friday (because my kids have been asking for French toast for a while).
But if you don’t have time for breadbaking this week, try these easy salmon potato cakes! The are a new, higher-protein take on potato latkes, a traditional Hanukkah food. Latkes are fried traditionally to commemorate the miracle of a one-day supply of oil lasting 8 days. So, these are still pan-fried in olive oil, because they taste best that way! But they come together quickly with canned sockeye salmon and you can use frozen hash browns if you like (I prefer fresh, but if I don’t have time I use Trader Joe’s brand because they are preservative free).
Meal Planning This Week
Monday (a busy night): Salmon Potato Cakes with sour cream, roasted broccoli and cauliflower
Tuesday (a busy night): Leftovers (Holiday concert night!)
Wednesday: Out for dinner (to a Hanukkah celebration with friends who are from Israel)
Thursday (a busy night): Instant Pot Chicken Soup (Not a Hanukkah food per se, but it’s easy and warms the soul like new friends! Plus I am making extra to have on hand for the winter.)
Friday: Cinnamon French Toast (with homemade Challah bread if time permits), and fruit
Buon Appetito! And Happy Hanukkah!