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Chanukah Regrets

December 5, 2013

Where did Chanukah go? It sped by this year and now it’s over. Okay, technically today is the last day of Chanukah and it officially ends at sundown tonight. But there is no more lighting of the menorah. There are no more presents.

It’s nothing but Christmas from this point out.

For me, it was the least fulfilling Chanukah in many years. As a kid I would judge the relative merits of each Chanukah based on the number (and value) of presents I received. Today, as an adult, I look back on how many latkes I was able to stuff in my pie hole.

One of the great things about my congregation in Schenectady is the annual latke dinner. I’ve been to a few latke dinners at other synagogues in the region, and they just don’t compare. Don’t tell the rabbi, but it’s one of the reasons we joined Gates. Do you know how many latkes I had this year in the diaspora of central Jersey?

None. Zero. Zilch.

The responsibility is all on me. Looking back on it, I probably would have been wise to even purchase a pack of frozen specimens just to get a taste of the season. But I failed to do that too.

Part of the problem was that I lacked the equipment. My familial recipe requires the use of a blender, and we disposed of our old and shoddy one in the move. But I could have worked around that. Still, most likely I would have been making the latkes for me alone. The kids aren’t thrilled by them, and Mrs. Fussy doesn’t like them when they are made with onions.

Plus, frying in the apartment isn’t my idea of fun.

In the past I’ve expanded the holiday’s traditional culinary trappings to include anything fried in oil. After all, it’s the miracle of the oil that’s being celebrated here. And I recall fondly the all-fried dinner that I took the kids to last year. If memory serves, it was french fries, fried chicken fingers, and fried cheese sticks.

Hoagie Haven would be the perfect place to get all of this nestled into a bun, for your convenience. And that’s just right up the street.

Chanukah was just badly timed this year. I put on so much weight, so quickly, from the Thanksgiving meals, that I couldn’t bring myself to fully get into the holiday spirit. This was the healthiest Chanukah ever.

One day I made popcorn on the stovetop. I figured that had to count for something. And another day I went out for wings and fries. As the fryer basket was lowered into the oil, I pointed out to my friends, that all of that bubbling fat was, “the sound of Chanukah.” At least my heart was in the right place.

I’m still working on reducing my turkey gut. But I’ve done some good exercise over the past couple of days and I’m back into a better eating routine.

Maybe I can find myself one last fried treat today before sundown. I suppose it’s possible that frozen latkes are even on clearance. And if they aren’t, I could always run down to Hoagie Haven for the yet-to-be-named chicken cutlet, mac and cheese bites, and hash brown sandwich.

Then it’s back on the wagon for my low-fat birthday custard.

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