Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Floating in oil

Yet another batch of soofganiot frying in hot oil!
What would Chanuka be without them?
Today I caught sight of these jelly-donuts-in-progress as I walked down Jaffa Road, near the shuk/souk/market.
The smell of calories attracted my attention.

(Enlarge the photo to see the finished product on the left.)

Soofgania comes from the Hebrew word that means sponge, sfog, which comes from a similar Ancient Greek word.
And indeed this dough absorbs hot oil like a sponge, as do latkes (grated potato pancakes), that other traditional Chanuka treat.

The holiday was instituted not to celebrate the 165 BCE military victory of the Jews over the Seleucid Greeks (who defiled the Temple with pagan worship), but rather to celebrate the miracle of the olive OIL.
When the victorious Jews came to rededicate the Temple, they found only one small vial of still-pure oil (i.e. with the seal of the high priest intact). They needed to rekindle the menorah and keep it burning throughout the night every night; but to press, prepare, and consecrate a fresh supply of oil would have taken eight days.
The Talmud (in tractate Shabbat) says:
"What is Hanukah? The rabbis taught: . . . The vial contained sufficient oil for one day only, but a miracle occurred, and it fed the holy lamp eight days in succession. These eight days were the following year established as days of good cheer, on which psalms of praise and acknowledgment (of God's wonders) were to be recited."
So that's why our "days of good cheer" are now filled with oily tasty soofganiot.


Anonymous said...

mmm. Looks delicious! How much does one donut cost in terms of U.S. money?

Dina said...

Gigi, I'm afraid I don't know how much they cost. Didn't buy any this year.
But for fun you might look at
The little menu shows "gourmet" soofganiot in all new varieties. The number in brown is the price in shekels. Divide it by 3.78 to convert to dollars.
I think a normal simple one costs less than a dollar.

Cloudia said...

good to share these fat days with friends!

ShAloha, Dina

Comfort Spiral

Anonymous said...

Dina, I did what you said. The numbers in brown look like the number 8. (???) I could be wrong.

After doing the math, it looks like each donut costs more than $2.


Dina said...

Gigi, yeah, those soofganiot in the ad are all the "gourmet" fancy ones, with chocolate filling and special icing. One new one this year even has vodka! I think it is the novelty that you pay for. Silly. Not for my budget.
Tomorrow I will find out what a normal soofgania costs. I'm taking a new-in-Israel friend to the market and she will need to taste one.

FA said...

Hi Dina. Isn't it great that food is an important part of our religious traditions! If you have time, take a look at my friend, Lori Lynn's post on latkes

Kay said...

Yuuuuummmm! It looks fabulous! I love latkes. It was so much fun when my students' parents would bring them to class to share their treats and traditions.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

My grandmother made those donuts. They are oh so good when fresh and oh so bad when old!

magicpolaroid said...

hello Dina, wow this is a delicius in this time! buon giorno!

Louis la Vache said...

Although «Louis» knew the story of how the festival of lights began, he hadn't equated how jelly donuts came to be a symbolic food for the festival with it. Well, duh!, «Louis»!

Maria Verivaki said...

looks delicious

Oman said...

interesting and definitely lovely. thaks for sharing.

spacedlaw said...

But what are these sponge like things? Some type of doughnut?

Pietro Brosio said...

They look delicious. I usually have very good donuts in the mountains, in a confectioner's shop at Bardonecchia.

Jew Wishes said...

I am envisioning the finished soofganiot, those tasty morsels.

Bergson said...

i come

Hilda said...

Finally caught up with your blog! Our celebrations are over but I forgot to consider all the other work I'd put aside because of them. Okay now. I think.

Many, many thanks for this explanation of Chanukah. I just knew it as a Jewish holiday, but nothing else. A celebration of a miracle — I like that.