Traditionally, we eat potato latkes (pancakes) on Chanukah. We eat foods prepared with oil to commemorate the miracle of the oil in the Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple) once the Jews were victorious over the Greeks. After the miraculous war, the Jews entered the desecrated Temple and only found enough pure olive oil to light the Menorah (candelabra) for one day. The tiny bit of oil lasted for an entire eight days, enough time for the Jews to get new pure oil to light the Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash, so that the Menorah would be continuously lit.
While latkes are so traditionally linked to Chanukah, there are so many foods that contain olive oil that may just as well commemorate the oil miracle of the Temple.
Truth be told, I hate to fry latkes.
It just takes too much time, too much splatter and it is so hard to manage while entertaining a houseful of guests.
I usually make one batch of latkes just for the first night and find other make-in-advance olive oil alternatives when we entertain guests over Chanukah.
This year, I have adapted my favorite potato kugel recipe to make baked potato kugelatkes. I made them in a bundt-shaped muffin tin, but they can easily be baked in a cupcake tin, as well.
They are simple to prepare, beautiful and delicious to behold, require no frying and can be prepared well in advance of the Chanukah meal.