Manischewitz Chanuka House

If you think Manischewitz is all old school, with tried and true stuff like matzos and gefilte fish, you wouldn’t be wrong. But this company, born in 1888 (will celebrate its 125th birthday next year!), has got its act in the 21st century too.

Like so many other manufacturers who now offer thousands of products for kosher home cooks whose culinary aspirations go beyond traditional, Manischewitz has a bunch of new items, like Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, Almond Butter Spread, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Moroccan Roasted Vegetables, and others.

And for the kids, there’s the new Chanuka kits, a sort of kosher take on the seasonal gingerbread house. There are two kinds: a Chanuka Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit (4 vanilla cookies with Hanukkah (or Chanuka) themes, plus icing, beads and sprinkles; and a second, more elaborate Chanuka House Decorating Kit with all the goodies needed to make a holiday cookie house, decorated with icing and sugary things all over.

In addition, the company is sponsoring a contest (grand prize $500) — for folks who actually make one of the vanilla cookie houses, creating the design of their desire. It’s a terrific and sweet project for kids. You can get the entry rules and information here.

But it’s more than just a contest. You don’t have to enter (entering involves taking a photo of the finished project). Cooking and crafting with kids can be a lot of fun. A nice start to the holiday season.