Classic Hanukkah doughnuts

In the United States and in Europe, fried potato latkes are the best- known food for celebrating the legendary miracle of one day's worth of oil that burned in the temple for eight days. But, puffy doughnuts called sufganiyot (which means "sponge," describing the texture) can rival potato pancakes in popularity.

Many food historians say that, in the past, potatoes were more abundant in Northern and Eastern Europe, while in the Middle East and Africa, wheat and other grains were more available. Not surprisingly, when it came to celebrating Hanukkah by cooking foods in oil, people fried what was easiest to get.

Given Americans' love of doughnuts, sufganiyot are growing in popularity. On Long Island, many kosher and kosher-style bakeries make them for Hanukkah. At ZuckerBaker's Kosher Bake Shop in Wantagh, "people go bananas for the doughnuts," said co-owner Donny Bashkin. "We can't make them fast enough," added his partner, Evan Zucker. --Jim Romanoff, The Associated Press

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