Winter Holiday Cookbooks #1: Hannukah

Traditionally, holidays are times when families, friends, and communities come together, with food playing an essential role in celebrations. In New York City, people from many different cultures celebrate the winter holidays with unique foods. This first of three posts covering Hannukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, will help a “give a taste” of the diverse dishes being served this season. Here are just a few holiday highlights, as well as a selection of e-cookbooks available through the library.

The post below is an excerpt from this blog originally published in December 2021.

Potato Latkes on a white dish with a side of stewed apples or compote
Mark Mitchell, Potato Latkes, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


Hannukah 2022 starts at sunset on December 18. Hannukah is an eight-day festival of lights commemorating the miracle when—after the Second Temple was desecrated then rededicated—one day’s worth of sacred oil for the altar’s eternal lamp lasted eight days. The eight-night celebration of Hanukkah is therefore supposed to include fried foods at the festive meal that is preceded by lighting the menorah, a eight- or nine-branched candelabrum. In Central and Eastern Europe, latkes (potato pancakes) were fried in schmaltz (poultry fat) because potatoes were plentiful while December was the season for slaughtering goose and ducks. Today, many people choose to make their latkes with vegetable oil.

Other Hanukkah foods reflect the ethnic diversity of Judaism. For example, Sephardic Jews (Mediterranean Jews) prepare elaborate vegetarian dishes with cheese while many Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews eat roasted brisket as a main dish.

Jelly donuts, or sufganiyot, another food deep-fried in oil, are a Hanukkah tradition from Israel popular with Americans. Jalebi, a treat enjoyed by Iraqi Jews, is basically a funnel cake, made out of a flour-based dough then deep fried and soaked in a sugar syrup. One exception to fried desserts is rugelach, an Eastern European pastry, which are crescent-shaped dough cookies filled with fruit preserves, poppy seeds, or chocolate and nuts. Hanukkah Sweets and Treats is a kid-friendly introduction to making these and more. The Kosher Baker is an excellent resource for dairy-free desserts.

Happy Winter Holidays!

This post was co-authored by Rachel Jones.

Staff Recommended Picks from the Media Collection – Matthew

College Assistant Matthew recommends the following films from the library’s media collection. City Tech students and faculty can check them out for 1 week, or can watch them in the media lab.

A Streetcart Named Desire – NYAV DVD 3019

Inception – NYAV DVD 2944

The Hunger Games – NYAV DVD 2939

Spirited Away – NYAV DVD 3018

Wonder – NYAV DVD 3044

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Month with these streaming films

May is Asian Pacific Islander American (AAPI) Month and the library has a number of streaming films that you can watch with your City Tech credentials. These are just a select few films that are available. In addition to these, the library also has a number of physical media that members of the City Tech community may borrow from the library’s media collection.

The City Tech community is also celebrating the release of the next issue of the City Tech Writer, which focuses on the experiences of Asian-American faculty and students’ experiences during the pandemic. Check out our recent podcast episode with Prof. Kwong, who is editing this year’s digital issue.

Another resource to check out is the American Pacific American Heritage site, a joint collaboration between the Library of Congress and National Archives and Records Administration.


Call Her Ganda

This documentary explores the murder of Jennifer Laude, a Filipino transwoman by a U.S. marine in the Philippines. It takes a hard look of the role of US imperialism.

Chinese Exclusion Act

This PBS produced documentary looks at the history of the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act, which made it illegal for Chinese nationals to enter the United States in the late 1800s.

Resistance at Tule Lake

This documentary looks at Japanese internment camps during World War II, where Japanese immigrant and Japanese-American were imprisoned, and where one incarcerated group who protested and resisted. A must watch for a little known and forgotten event in American history.


Asian Americans

Produced by PBS, this 5 part documentary series examines the rich history of Asian Americans. Produced in 2020, the series won a Peabody Award in 2021.


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

This documentary focuses on exiled Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei. Wewei was critical of the Chinese government over the death of several students in a 2008 earthquake.

Crazy Rich Asians

This romantic comedy stars Constance Wu, Awkwafina, Ken, Jeong, Michelle Yeoh, and many others. Based on a book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, the film focuses on a New York professor meeting her boyfriend’s family in Singapore.

Eat Drink Man Woman

Eat Drink Man Woman is a dramedy directed by Ang Lee. It focuses on a Taiwanese family and the difficult transition from tradition to modernity.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This documentary focuses on Sukibayashi Jiro, a renown sushi chef known for his Michelin star restaurant set in a Tokyo subway station. It was placed on the 2014 American Libraries Association Notable Films for Adults list, described as “An aging sushi chef demonstrates that mastery comes from lifelong dedication to improving one’s craft.”

For other media resources, questions, or concerns, contact Prof. Junior Tidal

Streaming Video now available in Swank

The library is now able to provide access to streaming video through Swank Digital Campus. Swank partners with major Hollywood studios, documentary providers, independent filmmakers and international film companies to provide a diverse library of films and TV shows. You can explore what’s available for CityTech by visiting

We’ve selected a list of films to license through Swank based on what’s not available in our onsite Media Library, or through other video databases like Criterion or AVON. Looking for something that you don’t see? Let us know.

Below are some of the films accessible via Swank.

Clueless (1995)

COVID Diaries NYC (2021)

Us (2019)

More Black Foodways: Cookbooks and Memoirs

As a bookend to the library’s post on our Black foodways book collection, and this February’s African American Studies Department event on food justice with Tanya Denise Fields, we would like to highlight our books with a culinary focus. These books celebrate Black cuisines and chefs, explore the history and sociology of traditional dishes, and provide contemporary interpretations of classic recipes. Some of these books were purchased to support Emilie Boone’s interdisciplinary course, The Visual Culture & Art of African Diaspora Foodways.

As subject liaison for Hospitality Management, I keep an eye out for new books about and by Black chefs or related to Black food studies. Here’s a selection of some of our books in our collection (these are hard copy books, not ebooks). We look forward to preparing a future book display on this theme.

Banned Books Week: Marginalized Authors and Censorship

“Banned Book Week 2014” by San Jose Public Library/ CC BY-SA 2.0

As a librarian, I find it a pity that we still need to celebrate Banned Books Week, which happens to be September 27th  – October 3rd this year. According to the American Library Association (ALA) Banned Books Week is a celebration of “current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools… The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.”

Banned Books Week started in 1982 with a dramatic display to highlight the problem. The American Booksellers Association (ABA) exhibited a display of 500 books in a padlocked cage at a trade show in Anaheim, California. As a tribute to that event 38 years later, books that have been banned or challenged for various reasons continue to be celebrated. The terms banned and challenged books are sometimes used interchangeably but they are some differences. Banned books refer to the removal of items, challenged  books are oppositional attempts by groups or individuals to restrict access to materials used in curriculum and libraries.

They are many reasons for censoring materials but some of the common ones are political views; racial content; lifestyle choices that people find objectionable; sexually explicit situations, profanity and violence; witchcraft, religious and blasphemous dialog. As we celebrate another year of Banned Books Week, I urged you to also think about debates on censorship and public outcry for retailers to remove works of authors who write about the experiences of marginalized groups outside of their own. What is your opinion on an author telling others narrative? Does a a public outcry from the offending group constitute censorship? How comfortable are you with the authenticity of the experiences when a writer from outside their group tells your story?

They are many situations why books are challenged; readers get passionate when they are challenges to intellectual freedom. For a list of banned or challenged works, check out the listing of titles that ALA maintains. In honor of Banned Books Week, I urged you to get involved in advocacy. Visit the City Tech library online collection and immerse yourself in one of our many e-books that have been deemed banned or challenged at some point. Happy reading!

The Stonewall Uprising

“The Stonewall Riots started the night of June 28, 1969 after bar patrons fought back against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York City. In the 1960s frequent police harassment and raids on queer bars and establishments were unfortunately regular occurrences. But with Stonewall the queer community fought back against the police, and the riots lasted three nights with many transgender activists of color leading the way, including Martha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major among others. Stonewall is often cited as the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.” (source: Kel R. Kapinski, Exhibition review: Stonewall 50 at the New-York Historical Society).

Below is a selection of books related to the Stonewall Uprising and queer theory.  These books all come from the ProjectMUSE database, a collection of ebooks and journals on contemporary cultural studies. The City Tech community also has access to LGBTQ+ periodical literature through LGBT Life (EBSCO). We also subscribe to TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, a Duke University Press journal which explores the diversity of gender, sex, sexuality, embodiment, and identity in ways that have not been adequately addressed by feminist and queer scholarship.

Chicago Whispers
The World Turned
Law and the Gay Rights Story
Pride Parades
The Boys in the Band

Expanded Access to EResources During the COVID-19 Crisis

For the rest of the semester, many publishers have offered expanded access to online resources in an effort to support the sudden move to online learning.  

This guide is a list of some of the free vendor resources and City Tech eresources that you can access at home.  It is a work in progress as new resources are in process.

Some eresource highlights include expanded access to Gale, EBSCO, Bloomsbury, EBook Central, and JSTOR.

Most of the resources can be accessed using your City Tech Library barcode.  Here are instructions for accessing library materials from home.  If you have trouble with accessing any library resources, please email

Destress with a graphic novel

KapowStudents: destress with a graphic novel! We hand-picked our most fun ones with a focus on superheroes but also manga too!
Look for the special book display near to the library entrance.

Advanced Science News Highlights Deiner Article

Advanced Science News, Wiley-VCH’s research news website promoting the most exciting of its recent publications, has highlighted Prof. Jay Deiner’s recent article (co-authored with Thoma L. Reitz), “Inkjet and Aerosol Jet Printing of Electrochemical Devices for Energy Conversion and Storage” (No. adem.201600878R1) in Advanced Engineering Materials.
You can access the highlight article here:
To read Prof. Deiner’s article, you need to login from off-campus. Congrats Jay!