Heads up, gentiles, Chanukah starts tomorrow night . I hope you have all your gifts picked out for all your Jewish friends. You know that's eight gifts per friend, right? No? You sonofabitch. Better click over to Amazon or something, quick. But first, read the rest of this post.
How about I help you out? Instead of giving you a guilt trip about the whole eight gifts thing, I'm going to give you eight ways to impress your Jewish friends at all your various Christmahanukkakwanzaakah celebrations this year. Ready? Go.
1. Fry up some really crispy latkes. Latkes are basically fried potato pancakes (with a side of onion or no-onion controversy.) Some folks have gotten crrrrazy and substituted sweet potato or even added vegetables, but the simplest way tends to go over best. Shredded potatoes, egg, flour, salt and pepper. Fry those babies up. Bonus points if you don't burn your house down. A recipe I discovered recently advocates boiling, draining, overnight refrigerating, peeling, shredding and draining your potatoes -- in that order. The oil needs to be the perfect temperature (between 350 and 370 degrees), but the most important thing you can do to guarantee a good latke fry is to squeeze. Squeeze the eff out of the shredded potato mixture and then squeeze again. And then squeeze some more. Pretend to be angered by the so-called "war on Christmas," and then squeeze harder. Good. Voila: crispy latkes.
2. Pick a side. Traditional latke condiments are sour cream and applesauce. Choose ketchup and you're immediately marked an amatuer. Word to the wise: hide ketchup packets in your pockets.
3. Learn to play dreidel games. It's like reindeer games, only not at all. It's more like poker, except not really like that either. You spin the dreidel and wherever it lands defines the amount you put in or take away from the pot. It's pretty simple actually. Get your money ready.
4. No dreidel? For shame! Bring your own. LRC is a decent substitute in a pinch. Bring plenty of Washingtons.
5. Jelly doughnuts. You probably don't own a fancy pants doughnut maker from Williams-Sonoma. But if you do, you'd best be using that expensive contraption to make some delicious sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts. Fried in oil (of course), they're another delicacy consumed during the Festival of Fat.
6. No doughnut maker? Buy 'em instead. Sufganiyot are simple little sweet things, so any generic doughnut shop should have something close enough. Or go all out at a spot like Hypnotic. Pop Tart crumbles are like jelly, right? Ain't nobody gonna be mad at that.
7. DO give something chocolate. Chocolate coins are alright, but they are more flash than flavor. Try something more creative, like a dreidel made by glueing a Hershey's kiss to the bottom of a marshmallow with peanut butter and then stabbing the marshmallow with a pretzel stick and dipping the whole shebang in chocolate?! Oh, Pinterest, you got me again.
8. Do NOT bring chocolate covered matzah. Wrong holiday. Prove that you get it, even though the retailers don't. Your Jewish friends will appreciate it.