Although Thanksgiving is right around the corner, winter break is a near glimmer in the future, and students are anxiously anticipating the heart of the holiday season this December. While the vast majority of students are looking forward to a Christmas Eve feast, a small percentage of us at UCSB are ready to enjoy not just one, but eight nights of holiday feasting for Hanukkah.

Jewish Gauchos all around campus can’t wait to indulge in latkes, beef brisket, jelly doughnuts and matzo ball soup. And while those observing Christmas will be sipping on eggnog, others will be consuming kosher Manischewitz wine. Regardless of your religious affiliation, you can enjoy celebrating the Jewish way in Isla Vista. So forget about the Ugly Sweater party this year and start cooking for the holiday soirée of the season: Latkes and Vodka.

Latkes are potato pancakes typically eaten during Hanukkah, which is also known as the Festival of Lights. Deep fried in oil, these scrumptious snacks symbolize the oil that miraculously lit the long-lasting flame that brightened up the holy temple in Israel for eight days.

Today, latkes are still a favorite comfort food around the world and are available in many variations, such as sweet potato or vegetable-potato pancakes. However, the original version of this crispy treat is the traditional Hanukkah indulgence, which is best complemented with applesauce and sour cream. Here is a basic latke recipe:



1 pound potatoes

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil



Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand. Rinse the grated potatoes in cold water, and drain. Mix the grated potatoes with the chopped onion. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot. Then, spoon two tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, and let brown. Flip and repeat until done. Serve with applesauce and sour cream on the side to dip latkes in.


Although time consuming and somewhat tedious to prepare, these perfect holiday appetizers are well worth the wait. After washing, peeling and grating the plethora of potatoes, you simply stir the ingredients together, and throw the mixture into the sizzling hot oil. And while the latkes are busy cooking, your party can get busy with another Hanukkah tradition — playing dreidel.

A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with different Hebrew letters on each side. When spun, the game piece lands on a different letter that yields a different rule — in college, however, the only rule is to drink. So grab your latkes off the stove, spin your dreidel and enjoy the best themed party UCSB has ever seen — Latkes and Vodka.

-Elizabeth Wagmeister