As part of the Macon Food Story, we’re taking a food tour every Thursday throughout the month of December and showcasing the holiday food traditions of different cultures and countries.

Macon Telegraph reporter Jenna Eason has the first installment about the sweeter side of Hanukkah. She spoke to Darrie Schlesinger, the wife of rabbi and Bibb commissioner Larry Schlesinger.

Q: Can you give me a little bit of the background of Hanukkah and your family’s tradition?

A: Hanukkah is a celebration of religious freedom. Through a course of eight days, we eat a lot of foods that are cooked with oil and that is a reminder that the menorahs were lit by oil. With our celebration, it’s all about the food, there’s a lot of food.

The cookies are in different shapes. We have the Magen Dawids, the Jewish stars, and they’re 6 pointed stars.

We have the dreidels and I’ll decorate these and put Hebrew letters on those. That one has a pretty strong flavor to it.

But then we have something called sufganiyot, those are your jelly donuts and those are fried in oil.

This is a recipe, rugelach, that my family would have out on a lot of the holidays and it looks almost like a strudel and it came over from Russia and we’ve been making it as far back that I know as five generations.

The rugelach was passed down to me by my grandmother. I roll out the dough, I spread apricot jam on it, put cinnamon, put other spices on there, put ground walnuts, raisins and then roll it up and bake it for about an hour.

Q: That sounds really good!

A: Yes, everyone expects that every year.

Q: Why is it important to keep the recipes passed down from generation to generation?

A: Because you’re transmitting your Jewish heritage from generation to generation through food.

Hanukkah lasts for eight nights and the special dishes are shared throughout the entire holiday.

Join 13WMAZ next week as we continue on our journey of holiday food traditions.

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