I did celebrate with my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins on Saturday. One of the highlights of the evening was my reading of the new Lemony Snicket book, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming. Just hysterical. A latke runs screaming from the frying pan, and encounters various Christmas icons along its path. As the latke explains what it is and its significance in the celebration of Hanukkah, it keeps getting compared to Christmas. And so it keeps screaming.
Lemony Snicket actually gets in a fair bit about the meaning of Hanukkah, while keeping a wry tone throughout. One of my favorite parts is when the latke is explaining to Christmas lights why it is fried in oil:
“Because I’m a latke,” said the latke. “The olive oil reminds us of the oil used to rededicate the temple following the defeat of Antiochus at the hands of the Maccabees. The oil was only supposed to last for one night but there was a miracle and it lasted for eight. Plus frying makes my skin crispy and brown.”And then it runs screaming, “AAAHHHHHHHHH!” for two pages.
“So you’re basically hash browns,” said the flashing colored lights. “Maybe you can be served alongside a Christmas ham.”
“I’m not hash browns!” cried the latke. “I’m something completely different!”
It’s lots of fun to read aloud, either to a crowd of adults and kids at a Hanukkah celebration, or to a class of third or fifth graders at school. This book will be a must-read every year.
Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah, and before I try making my own latkes, I wanted to leave you with my favorite comedy bit of the season. It’s Steven Colbert on The Daily Show, and it cracks me up every time. (“Rosh Hashanah?” “Okay, now you’re just making words up.”) Enjoy.