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A friend and I were asked to put together a 1/2 hour TV show on Hannukah to be shown on a local religious cable channel. We wrote and prepared several skits; a cantor explaining and singing the prayers for the lighting of the candles, a slide show narrated on the history of Hannukah, a dramatization of one of IB Singer's stories and last, but not lest, a demonstration of making sufganyot. Therein lay the seeds for our one tragedy of the show.
We had limited shooting time, but we had scheduled the cooking section last in order to allow Etti (our excellent chef) to show the preparation of the dough, but also have dough ready to fry. What we didn't count on was the heat generated by the lights needed for the taping. Etti prepared her dough and set it aside.
When it came time to demonstrate how to fry the risen dough, the lights and the fast rise yeast combined to create a monster. The dough had risen and slopped over the sides of the bowl and was creeping down he table to the floor. It definitely had a life of its own.
Poor Etti tried to rescue it and continue describing the steps to wonderful doughnuts as this dough kept rising and flowing all over. When she tried to fry it, it fell apart and she ended up with little pieces of fried dough so small she couldn't add the jelly, or pieces so big, they had no substance and were airborn like balloons. The more she tried to continue with a straight face, the more the crew laughed.
Her segment turned out to be the hit of the show due to the unplanned comedy of the sticky dough creeping around and her attempts to rescue it. Moral: Don't leave your dough under kleig lights if you really want to demonstrate sufganyot preparation unless you are Milton Berle. (for those of you too young to remember Uncle Miltie, he was the first major TV comedian and was known for his slapstick comedy)
Posted by Judith Sobel