It’s the most wonderful time of year again, when the best of recipes surface to spread holiday cheer. While we here at culture are all about those cheesy holiday recipes, we can’t help but notice that Hanukkah foods tend to get overshadowed. I can’t speak for all Jewish people, but I certainly love cheese, and cheese actually plays a pretty important and badass role in Jewish history.
Our cheese history dates back to the sixth century BCE, when an army stormed Bethulia in Israel. The lovely Judith sought out the general Holofernes, got him drunk, and then cut off his head in his sleep. Like I said, badass.
Judith was brave, no doubt, but she was also smart as heck. In some versions of the story, Judith is said to have given Holofernes salty food to ensure his thirst and therefore drunkenness. That salty delicious delight that the general couldn’t resist? Cheese, obviously! Cheese is so handy, you guys.
Despite her heroic act, Judith’s story is often overlooked just as much as Hanukkah recipes are. But have no fear—we are here to solve both of these issues! As a shoutout to Judith, here are a few great cheesy recipes you can include in this year’s Hanukkah feast.
You think of Hanukkah, you think of latkes. But how can these potato pancakes get even better? By being stuffed with fresh goat cheese, that’s how. Miriam Szokovski from Chabad.org knows where it’s at.
Miriam Szokovski, you are two for two. Making pasta out of cookie cutters? Genius. This ravioli dish is fun, festive, and a great option for the younger Hanukkah celebrators who, like me in my early days, might be averse to some of the more traditional food options.
Cheese blintzes are a Shavuot star, and they make a great addition to your Hanukkah spread. These cheese-filled crepes are delicious on their own, but a little topping never hurt anybody. Check out Tory Avey’s amazing syrupy strawberry.
This dessert—brought to you by Sarah Moulton for Greenwich Time—is the best of both worlds, incorporating the Hanukkah traditions of both oil and cheese. Filled with ricotta, cream cheese, and almond paste, you can’t go wrong with these fried dumplings.