Gigi Yellen / NWPR

The original Hanukkah lights were wicks floating in oil. So the holiday’s ancient legend gives the wintertime cook an excuse to fry potatoes and just about anything else that cooks in oil. People insist on eating these things before you can get them onto a serving platter, so, word to the wise: if you’re expecting to get out of the kitchen, make latkes before your gathering, freeze them on a cookie tray, and pop them into a warm oven or onto a warming tray.