4 Ways to Start Preparing Your Kitchen for a Bustling Hanukkah Feast

jewish family eating Hanukkah feast around the dining table

One of the most celebrated Jewish holidays, Hanukkah is a time for games, glimmering lights, and delicious food. Known as the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah takes place over eight days and honors the rededication of the Holy Temple. While the menorah lighting is at the heart of the Hanukkah festival, much of the activity around this time takes place in the kitchen. Preparing for the feast with help from a local kosher market will ensure that you can enjoy a stress-free festival all while serving up beautiful food for your friends and family.

Plan your meals

Planning your menu is the most important thing you can do in advance of Hanukkah. Check with any guests to see if they have food allergies or dietary restrictions before outlining your meal plan. Once you know if there are any restrictions, you can create a grocery list with all the ingredients you’ll need for the feast.

There are a few traditional menu items you might include on your Hanukkah menu. These include sufganiyot, rugelach, and potato latkes. Whatever you’re planning on preparing for the feast, review your recipes beforehand and include the ingredients you need on the grocery list. Don’t forget drinks, either. If you and your guests will be drinking wine, make sure to have several options, along with drinks for younger guests and relatives.

Set the table

In the hours leading up to the big feast, take time to thoughtfully set the table where you’ll gather with friends and family. Setting the table ahead of time can save you minutes when it’s time to eat and can allow you to create a beautiful space that will beckon everyone who sees it. If you have made-in-Israel dinnerware, such as serving bowls, coasters, or plates, consider adding them to your tablescape. Sentimental pieces are also good to include since they evoke memories of holidays past.

Prepare for shabbat rituals

If you’ll be hosting people during the shabbat of Hanukkah, there are some additional items to prepare and have on hand. Even as you prepare ingredients and tableware, ensure that you have a challah board with a cover and pretty knife, a kiddush cup, handwashing cups and towels, and Birkonim for prayer. A beautiful tablecloth can also help set the stage for a memorable holiday.

Delegate helpers

It’s a lot of responsibility to host and serve dinner during Hanukkah. There are also a lot of expectations, which can dim your enjoyment of the festival. Hanukkah is all about relaxation and rededication to the faith, and if you’re running around trying to take care of every kitchen chore, you could be too stressed to fully take in the wonder of the season.

It’s best to delegate some kitchen helpers in advance of the Hanukkah celebration. If you have a friend or close relative who’ll be attending, ask if they feel comfortable helping you in the kitchen, whether that’s preparing food or setting out ingredients to make cooking easier. If the friend doesn’t want to get involved in preparing dishes for the meal, they might appreciate helping in other ways, like setting the table or cleaning the ritual items.

Get Hanukkah essentials at Sarah’s Tent Kosher Market

From the nightly menorah lighting to the meals shared with family and friends, Hanukkah is one of the most important festivals in the Jewish faith. By preparing your kitchen ahead of time, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the season and embrace everything the festival has to offer. For all of your Hanukkah needs delivered to your door, choose Sarah’s Tent!

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