Head to Head is a new weekly feature in JPost.com in which two people face off on a controversial issue that's making headlines
#2: The Conservative gay ruling
#1: The Green Line
Head to Head #3: donuts vs. latkes
In the name of holiday spirit, head to head
confronted two people in what turned out to be a heated battle of sweet vs. sour.
Latkes can reaffirm our belief in G-d
Sufganiyot (donuts) are worth the calories
Latkes can reaffirm our belief in G-d, by Seth Freedman
Had I been Moses, and Pharoah's magicians had offered me a plate of latkes or doughnuts instead of gold or coals, I'd have grabbed the latkes quicker than the time it takes to say 'Jack Robinson'.
There just isn't a contest when it comes down to it. It's ying versus yang. Good versus evil. Arsenal versus Tottenham. Latkes have the power to reaffirm our belief in G-d - whilst doughnuts just reaffirm our belief in pushy Israeli bakers. Walk into any bakery to grab a sandwich, and it's like walking down Brixton High Road in London - except they're pushing sufganiyot rather than crack. I can normally fend off the street-peddlers with ease, but around Hanukkah, doughnuts are forced upon you with an almost demonic zeal by these hustlers.
Whereas latkes aren't. They're quietly alluded to by friends or family, with a whispered "come over later, I might be cooking latkes" - not in your face, not ten-a-penny - a far more exclusive preserve than the doughnut set. They take effort - and it shows. I watch someone stand at the stove frying them up with the same awe I would an alchemist turning metal into gold. It's a fine art - the Sistine Chapel to the crayon sketches that are doughnuts.
Which is more fattening, which is tastier, which is aesthetically more pleasing? I don't care. It all comes down to one thing. Which one will let you down more. And we all know the answer. Nothing - repeat nothing - breaks your heart like biting carefully all the way around the outside of a doughnut, hoping to save the precious jam in the middle for the end - and then finding it's drier than an Israeli oil well. For the jam-less doughnut is akin to Moses being led to the Promised Land and then not allowed in. A killer. And latkes - whatever your taste in Hanukah food - will never let you down like that. Reliable, dependable, no-nonsense.
No contest. Latkes beat doughnuts, hands down. It says more about you than a Rolex or Armani suit ever could. And if my endorsement isn't enough - just ask yourself what a marauding Maccabee would have wanted during a break from battle. I doubt the prospect of jam all over his sword would have put a smile on his face.
Donuts are worth the calories, by Talia Dekel
"Take a bite, Dorit, take a bite," my grandmother says, calling me by my cousin's name, whom she has been confusing me with for years now.
"Umm, a little bit later safta
," I reply, knowing full well that the only way that floppy, greasy piece of cardboard would enter my mouth was by force, and even then under the condition that I was heavily sedated.
You are probably wondering what could possibly be so horrible to eat that a good Jewish girl would lie straight to her dear, sweet, Polish grandmother's face - without even flinching.
The latke! What else but that devastating brown mush could make me cringe so? The second that scraped potato consistency touches my tongue, I cannot help but gag.
I don't care if it's tradition, I don't care if it's symbolic! The fact that our Macabees found that oil had been burning in the temple for eight days only helps me understand why every time I chew on a latke, it tastes like it's eight days old.
Another story behind the infamous anti-delicatessen is the story of Judith, who beguiled her way into chopping off the head of the notorious Assyrian general, Holofernes, by feeding him with salty fried cakes made of cheese, an alternative to the dreaded potato
disaster. Why would I want to be associated with decapitation?
If you want to ensure your yearly (who am I kidding? Several times a year) holiday intake of fatty fried foods then you can't go wrong with the sufganiya. Now that's a Hanukka treat worth putting on the pounds for.
Oh the sweet sweet donut, how the delicately sprinkled-on icing sugar melts in your mouth. A sufganiya knows how to please its owner. A sufganiya is always sweet, never sour. Not like its evil relative, the latke, that cannot decide whether to be sweet or savory.
What kind of food item can be eaten both with sugar and with sour cream? An indecisive one.
That is why, my friends, I encourage you to quit the latke habit, pick up a sufganiya and thank G-d for the wonderful holiday of Hanukka - for giving us such a tasty treat.