Let There Be Latkes: Eight Reasons Gentiles Should Appreciate Hanukkah, Too

As we all well know from years and years of church and advertising, there are plenty of reasons to appreciate Christmas: Mistletoe, candy canes, presents, Santa, Christmas Lights, presents, holiday songs, holiday drinking, holiday hams, holiday nutcrackers, The Nutcracker ballet, Christmas movies, Christmas cookies, presents, gifts and more gifts and presents.

But what about Hanukkah? The Festival of Lights starts tonight, and I'd like to offer proof of its many gifts to humankind. Brace yourself for some mazel tov, y'all.

Reason #8: Competitive Dreidel It's real.

Reason #7: Guilt As in, if you don't appreciate Hanukkah, all your Jewish friends will give you "that look" and make you eat/choke on a macaroon left over from Passover.

Reason #6: No Fruitcakes Kugel, yes. Honeycake, sure. But fruitcakes are for punishment, and we already covered that in Reason #7.

Reason #5: Drinking Christians spike their eggnog with rum and their hot chocolate with schnapps. Jewish folks spike their vodka with vodka and shout L'CHAIM, which sounds really awesome. And another thing: Nearly every Jewish holiday encourages drinking. One even suggests getting so drunk you can't tell the difference between the good guy and the bad guy in the traditional holiday tale. That's a religion worth getting behind.

Reason #4: Chocolate Money Sure it's advent calendar-quality chocolate, but those gold foil-wrapped discs of chocolate-flavored sugar make paying your bar tab really interesting.

Reason #3: Miracles The story goes like this: There once was a war wherein the small team of obviously not sporty Jews were up against a giant army of eight-foot-tall Heisman trophy winners. And by what can only be explained as miraculous, the scrawny little Jews won. Miracle! Later, they lit a sad little lamp in their demolished temple with only a day's worth of oil, and it lasted eight whole days instead of one. Another miracle! Now they fry shit in oil to celebrate said miracles and eat said fried shit for eight days and nights.

Reason #2: Jews Invented Fried Food. Exhibit A: Doughnuts What? You didn't know doughnuts were invented by Jews? Look it up. And these special Hanukkah doughnuts aren't the bullshit glazed type. They're big, puffy, jelly-filled and topped with powdered sugar.

Reason #1: Jews Invented Fried Food, Exhibit B: Latkes They're like regular pancakes, except made of shredded potatoes and fried until you nearly burn your house down. Eat 'em with applesauce, sour cream, or start a fight and eat 'em with ketchup. Either way they'll make you glad you decided to appreciate Hanukkah this year.

Follow City of Ate and foodbitch on Twitter. And join her this Thursday night at the giant menorah lighting in the West Village to test out some of the fried foods mentioned above for free.

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