Daily Israel Report

An Army Marches on Its -- Sufganiyot

How many traditional Hanukkah fried jelly doughnuts – “sufganiyot” – does the IDF need to feed its soldiers? And can they be made healthy?
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/11/2012, 9:49 PM

IDF soldiers munch on sufganiy
IDF soldiers munch on sufganiy
Israel news photo: IDF spokesman

If Napoleon was right and an army “marches on its stomach,” the IDF is trying to make sure the soldier’s won’t be overfed with Hanukkah’s sufganiyot, which this year are a bit healthier than the usual deep-fried jelly doughnuts.

Sufganiyot are Israel's answer to the fried potato latke, the calorie-laden pancake which is the traditional Hanukkah fare in Europe and the West.

IDF kitchens fry up approximately 365,000 sufganiyot for the eight-day Hanukkah holiday, but this year's selection includes a healthier variety made with soy flour.

Nevertheless, no one has yet come up with a doughnut without oil, the symbol of the Miracle of Hanukkah when pure olive oil, fit for religious use, was discovered in the desecrated Holy Temple. The oil was enough to last for one day but burned for eight days.

Today’s cooking oil leaves a smell of traditional Hanukkah sufganiyot in the IDF’s Technology and Logistics Branch's food preparation base.

The IDF's kitchens are preparing fresh sufganiyot for each unit, including both jelly and chocolate-filled varieties.

"Every unit is entitled to order sufganiyot from the Food Center according to its needs, in addition to the work of kitchen managers," said Warrant Officer Simo Cohen, head of the Nutrition Section of the Chief Logistics Officer's Headquarters.

In line with the Logistics Corps and the Food Center’s new emphasis on a healthy diet, Cohen explained that this year the IDF's kitchens will be able to use soy flour, "which in contrast to regular flour, prevents a little of the absorption of oil in the sufganiyah as it is fried."