Last year I decided to host some friends for the first night of Chanukah. I thought making latkes was going to be a piece of potato cake. After burning a couple dozen, setting off the smoke alarm, and then grating a good portion of my finger off, I vowed it would be many a year before I attempted that again! Enter CTWorkingMoms requesting that I review a sampling of Whole Foods Chanukah yummies. SCORE!
I know most people reading this aren’t going to have their fairy godmother gift them a whole bunch of food, so I’m going to make my rating system easy: each dish is either something I’d be willing to pay for to eat again (thumbs up), or it’s not (thumbs down). In order to review all the food WF gave me in a timely fashion, I had to recruit a couple of friends and their kids. I also needed my friend’s kid’s opinions about the meat because my son is vegetarian.
Matzoh Ball Soup: thumbs up. We really enjoyed it! Matzo ball soups are hit-or-miss for us because we all get our taste buds attuned to the way our grandmothers made it. If your grandmother’s homemade soup isn’t available, I would give this one a try!
Tzimmes: thumbs up! Reminded me of my Great Aunt Rosie’s tzimmes – it was that good. Most tzimmes are overcooked. Not this one. The carrots were cooked to perfection and the dish was sweet, but not too sweet. Which had a downside: it meant I could eat much more than usual since the sweetness normally gets cloying after a few bites.
Latkes: thumbs up! They taste homemade and are a great alternative to making your own if you want to save time, avoid the mess, and hate the smell of oil wafting through the house for days. I enjoyed them even more when I added the traditional applesauce to them.
Garlicky Greens (steamed kale and chard seasoned with rich roasted garlic – no oil): thumbs down. This is a great dish for someone who can eat their veggies straight up. That’s not me, though. I would have liked it with a creamy tehini sauce, but that would have defeated the purpose of this fat-free dish.
Brisket: thumbs up! Now, it wasn’t my mom’s brisket, but no brisket ever will be. Yet this came in a close second. It was tender and cooked with the just the right amount of spices. I only intended to eat two or three slices and ended up eating seven or eight (did I mention I was pregnant?). The amount I ate really speaks for itself: delicious! If I had to make just one suggestion, it would be to trim a little bit more fat off. But that really is a personal preference. The kids loved it and declared it “yummy and meaty!”
Chocolate Ganache Cake: thumbs up! thumbs up! thumbs up! I can’t find the words for this cake, even after I checked my thesaurus. You have to taste it to believe it. I asked my friend who is a professional cake decorator to enjoy it with me, and she couldn’t put her fork down either! She eats cake for a living, and this one she was willing to eat for free. Perfectly balancing moistness and richness, this is the cake that I will turn to from now on for my chocolate fix. Enjoy and beware!
All in all, the meal was a huge success! And it gives me no excuse not to host my friends and family during the holidays. I can buy an effortless, affordable, traditional Chanukah meal at the Whole Foods around the corner and know that everyone will go home with happy and full stomachs. So now you all have one less excuse to get stressed out about the holidays! Happy Holidays!
Disclaimer: I was not paid to do this review. I simply received the items mentioned so that I could write a fair and honest review for all of you lovely readers.