A few months later, when that bottle was empty, I discovered a new gourmet shop in our town with flavored olive oils.
All of this reinforced my wish to elevate olive oil in our family as the stuff of which the Hanukkah miracle was made. I’ve felt guilty about not doing enough about this in years past. Really? Jewish guilt about oil? Well, a little.
Like lots of families, we use candles in our menorahs . . . but that doesn’t help underscore the miracle of the oil, lasting and lasting and lasting.
Olive oil in Jewish culture
This New York Times article, “As Hanukkah Approaches, Olive Oil Takes Center Stage,” helps give us a sense of the importance of olive oil – in Jewish history and in Israel.
Olive oil was so important in the biblical period that priests brought the first crush of the ”purest and finest” oil in sealed cruses to the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering.
There’s even an oil industry museum in Israel!
Ideally, I’d get an oil-burning chanukiyah. Am still looking for one that I love. All suggestions on that front welcome.
Family olive oil tasting
Until I find one, though, I can elevate the olive. Here’s one approach to hosting a family olive oil tasting at home.
- Buy three flavors of olive oil; pour into small bowls labeled #1, #2, and #3.
- Cut crunchy Italian bread into chunks. Put into a big bowl in the middle of the table.
- Pass out little plates to round out the snack with chunks of cheese and fresh veggies.
- Sit around the table, munching and tasting and describing the flavors.
- Add wine for an adult crowd.
For our family, because of the little guys we have in our group, we’ll go with olive tasting. So the same concept as above, but with three types of olives, along with hummus, pita triangles, and fresh carrots. I happen to have several serving pieces with olive imagery – so we’ll use those.
Want to know how to do a “fancy” olive oil tasting? Think wine tasting – and check out these instructions.
This week’s faves: Hanukkah kitchen fun
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The #1 family favorite: Hanukkah Bingo Game, winner of an “A” rating from toytips.com!
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