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Sandwich Monday: The Hanukkah Miracle

Eat the dreidels at your own risk.

[Today's post comes to you from Dan Pashman, a Friend of Sandwich Monday. You may know him from his spots on Weekend Edition, his WNYC podcast The Sporkful, his book Eat More Better or the time he stole a piece of your sausage when you weren't looking.]

Hanukkah celebrates a miracle at the ancient temple on a night when the Jews thought they only had enough oil to light the candles for that one evening. To their delight, the oil lasted eight miraculous nights, and that's why foods cooked in oil are a common part of the Hanukkah observance. If your religion doesn't have a doctrine that requires you to deep fry something, I'm sorry.

American Jews eat fried potato pancakes (latkes), but in Israel, Jews celebrate with a different oily, fried food: donuts. I've brought these two customs together to create a new sandwich: the Hanukkah Miracle.

Here's how you make it: Slice a glazed yeast donut in half and fry it in butter. Flip it inside out, spread sour cream on the bottom and applesauce on the top, and insert a potato pancake. (You want the sour cream closer to your tongue to accentuate its flavor.)

Here are some jokes I imagine the Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me crew cracking at this sandwich's expense.

Mike: The guy who invented this thought he needed one stent, but it turned out he needed eight miraculous stents.

Peter: I didn't think Jewish holidays could actually be infused with more self-loathing.

Despite these hypothetical slights, I decided to make one for my family. Here's how they responded:

Janie (my wife): It's just like the donut puts it over the edge of sweetness. A donut is already so intense, to add more stuff ... [takes another bite] ... I like the sour cream and the apple sauce and the latke. But not the donut.

Becky (my daughter, age 4): I taste applesauce. The applesauce tastes so good.

Alice (my mother-in-law): I'm trying to decide what the main flavor is here. The latke or the donut? What do I taste more? I think it's more donut-y.

Dan: The sour cream is the key. That tartness elevates this beyond gimmickry and makes it the kind of dish you'd see on the menu at a four-star restaurant.

Disappointed that my loved ones have failed to grasp the genius of the Hanukkah Miracle, we try an Inside Out Hanukkah Miracle, with potato pancakes on the outside and a donut in the middle, to cut the sweetness a bit.

Becky: It's so yummy.

Janie: It's still a little sweet for me, but I like this better. I would leave out the donut. I just want the latkes.

Dan: It's not the kind of thing I would eat often, but I'm glad it exists. It's a good once-a-year food for a Hanukkah party.

Becky: What can we do to show people we celebrate Hanukkah? Maybe we can put a sign on our door that says 'Who else celebrates Hanukkah?'


[The verdict: Here in Chicago, at least 75 percent of the usual Sandwich Monday crew is licking their computer monitors. This is not unusual of course, but today it's particularly vigorous.]

Sandwich Monday is a satirical feature from the humorists at Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!

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