Christians aren't the only ones with a holiday to celebrate this month. The Jewish Feast of Lights starts today. I immediately thought of my friend Erin Eisenberg and asked her to explain a little about this celebration to those of us who may not know much about it. She's even sharing a family recipe! Ok, Erin, you're up!
Chanukah is an interesting time of year. To me, it's about friends and family, and not nearly as much about the gifts. In true Jewish style we try to cram all our fun into 8 nights and 8 days, instead of spreading the joy out for a month. I guess we must figure that we have the extra time, might as well use it! Of course the extra fun part is that often it's only over 1 weekend, which means really we're trying to cram all that fun into two days, this weekend being the perfect example.
I remember growing up, how I excited I was to be the one to light the candles myself. 1 candle for each night, plus 1 to light the rest. I remember my grandfather standing behind me, saying the prayers slowly enough so I could follow along. There's a certain peace that comes with the lighting the menorah. There have been years where I'll miss nights because I'm out at a holiday party and I don't get home until late. Those nights make me sad. I love the glow of the candles slowly burning down. I love even more to watch the progression from 2 lonely candles on the first night to 9 on the last. These candles, to me, ARE Chanukah. Last year, thanks to our giant snowstorm, I was able to light the candles every night...and it felt wonderful. I watched them burn from my couch, with a fire in the fireplace, and realized just how blessed I was...even if I was alone in my little apartment. This year is the first year I can light the candles in my new home, and I can't wait.
And now, recipe time! I thought about bringing a latke recipe to you all, but then I figured you can find those anywhere. But you can't get my family's special side dish just anywhere, and that's way more fun.
1 cucumber, peeled/seeded, cut into small chunks
1 red pepper, seeded, cut into small chunks
radishes, a small handful, cut into small chunks or thin slices
1/2 red onion, cut into small chunks
cottage cheese (depending on the number of people, I use 1-16 oz container for 3-4)
sour cream or plain yogurt (about 1/3-1/2 cup per 16 oz. of cottage cheese)
Mix all together in a bowl. Serve chilled.
Note from Emily: I'm not a fan of cottage cheese, but this sounds yummy! What an interesting mix of tastes and textures.
I first met Erin when I lived in Seattle. (Giving a shout-out to my girls at Eastside RWA!) She's a saavy writer who's doing all the right things to build a platform prior to publication. I asked her to send me a bio, so you could get to know her a little too.
Erin Eisenberg is a third grade teacher by day, and a writer by nature. She's loved books since she was a little girl, and in fifth grade she finally realized she could be the one to write those books. She's a pre-published writer hard at work on her 7th manuscript. Most of her books are contemporary romance, though she recently tried her hand at a Young Adult. Thankfully her guy doesn't mind sharing his time with her characters.
thanks for being with us today, Erin.
Check out her blog
PS. Today is my regular posting day at The Chatelaines. I'm sharing 6 MORE REASONS EDITORS STOP READING. Hope to see you there!