Beer comes in six-packs, eggs come by the dozen and Hanukkah comes in eights. Eight nights, eight candles, eight presents.

This isn't to suggest that potato pancakes be eaten in quantities of eight (nobody's are that good -- or that small). It means eight edible ideas and eight celebratory examples. Eight Vegetables to Shred with the Potatoes for Pancakes (Not all at once)

Carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, spinach, cabbage, peppers, jerusalem artichokes. Eight Toppings for Potato Pancakes Besides Applesauce or Sour Cream (Ditto for the not all at once)

Apple butter, yogurt mixed with curry, yogurt mixed with horseradish, chutney, grated cheese, cottage cheese with chopped cucumber, cranberry relish, salsa. Seven Unusual Cookbooks to Give Bubbie Plus One She Can Give to the Kids

"Kosher Calories" by Tziporah Spear (Mesorah Publications, $5.95). A listing of everything from Waldbaum's frozen latkes (170 calories per 3-ounce serving) to Manischewitz's gefilte fish (53 calories per piece).

"Cooking Kosher: The Natural Way" by Jane Kinderlehrer (Jonathan David Publishers, Inc., $8.95). Whole wheat kreplach, granola-filled blintzes and vegetarian chopped liver.

"Kosher Creole Cookbook" by Mildred L. Cover and Sylvia P. Gerson (Pelican Publishing, $10.95). Jambalaya with kosher salami? Oysters Rockefeller made with gefilte fish? The Cajun craze gets crazier.

"Jewish Cooking From Around the World" by Josephine Bacon (Barrons, $19.95). Contributions from India, Denmark, North Africa and more.

"Jewish Cooking Made Slim," edited by Marjorie Weiner (Triad, $8.95). Easy on the chicken fat.

"The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews" by Edda Servi Machlin (Dodd Mead & Co., $12.95). An intriguing collection of the recipes and history of this little-known cuisine.

"The Pleasures of Your Food Processor" by Norene Gilletz (Warner Books, $12.95). Kugel, knishes, chopped liver or chopped herring with the flick of a switch.

From Bubbie to the kids: "Miracle Meals: Eight Nights of Food and Fun for Chanukah," Madeline Wikler and Judyth Gromer (Kar-Ben Copies, $8.95). The title tells all.

(Synagogue gift shops, as well as the B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum Gift Shop and the two Jewish bookstores in the next listing, are good places to find a wide selection of Jewish cookbooks.) Eight Places to Buy Hanukkah Cooking Equipment

Agudas Achim Congregation gift shop, 2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria. 998-6460. Set of three cookie cutters, $2.

B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum Gift Shop, 1640 Rhode Island Ave., NW. 857-6583. Set of four cookie cutters, $3.

Israeli Accents, 11641 Boiling Brook Place, Rockville. 231-7999. Set of four cookie cutters, $2.80.

Jewish Bookstore of Greater Washington (Abe's), 11250 Georgia Ave., Wheaton. 942-2237. Set of three cookie cutters that includes recipe pamphlet, $3.95.

La Cuisine, 323 Cameron St., Alexandria. 836-4435. Candy molds of Star of David and Hebrew alphabet, $2.

Lisbon, 2305 University Blvd., Wheaton. 933-1800. Three types of cookie cutters (stainless steel, plastic and a six-sided one, also made of stainless steel); mold in the shape of a dreidel.

Temple Emanuel, 10101 Connecticut Ave., Kensington. 942-2000. Set of four cookie cutters for $2.

Temple Sinai, 3100 Military Rd. NW. 363-6394. Set of three cookie cutters, $2.

(Synagogue gift shops have limited or changeable hours; call ahead to make sure they are open.) Eight Restaurants That Serve Potato Pancakes (With Applesauce and Sour Cream)

Carnegie Deli, 8517 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Corner. 790-5001. Three pancakes, $5.95.

Hofberg's, 5240 Randolph Rd., Rockville. 770-0777. Four pancakes, $4.25.

Mel Krupin's, 1120 Connecticut Ave. NW. 331-7000. Four pancakes, $3.95.

Mr. L's, 5018 Connecticut Ave. NW. 244-4343. Two pancakes, $2.75.

Old Europe, 2434 Wisconsin Ave., NW. 333-7600. Three pancakes, $3.

Parkway Deli, 8317 Grubb Rd., Silver Spring. 587-1427. Five pancakes, $3.75.

Shirlington Deli, 2700 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Alexandria. 684-3354. Three pancakes, $4.50.

Your Aunt Zelda. She'll be flattered. Eight Dates for Eating and Meeting Nice Jewish Boys

Dec. 13: Hanukkah Brunch, sponsored by 10 local Jewish singles groups, Julia Bindeman Suburban Center, 11810 Falls Rd., Potomac, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door. Call Caren Rosner at 362-7100.

Dec. 13: Hanukkah Family Day including potato latkes and sufganiyot (doughnuts), Jewish Community Center, 6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville. 1 to 4 p.m., 881-0100.

Dec. 13: Hanukkah Celebration, Boutique and Sisterhood Bake Sale, Arlington-Fairfax Congregation, 2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 979-4466.

Dec. 18: Hanukkah celebration including singing, story-telling and candle lighting. Everyone is asked to bring a plate of latkes plus a main dish or salad. Bethesda Jewish Congregation, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda, 6:30 p.m., 469-8636.

Dec. 18: Hanukkah service and Oneg Shabbat with potato pancakes and sufganiyot. Each child is asked to bring a menorah and candles. Temple Micah, 600 M St. SW., 7:30 p.m., 554-3099. (Temple Micah is also holding a Hanukkah party for children 5 and under on Dec. 12 at 12:30 p.m. Activities will include decorating Hanukkah cookies.)

Friday afternoons: The meat counter at Katz's Kosher Supermarket, 4860 Boiling Brook Parkway, Rockville.

Evenings during the week of Hanukkah: The southwest quandrant of the Ellipse, where the giant Hanukkah menorah will be lit each night. From there, you can go to any of the restaurants (above) that serve potato pancakes.

Last Sunday: There were tens of thousands of them at the National Summit Rally. Eight Tips for Using Oil

Don't think you're getting something special if the bottle of oil says "No cholesterol." No vegetable products contain cholesterol.

The "P/S ratio" of an oil or fat is the amount of polyunsaturated to saturated fats. If they are so labeled, look for products with a P/S ratio of 2:1 or greater.

Procter & Gamble's Puritan Oil, made from rapeseed or canola oil, was awarded the best new product of the year by the American Health Foundation. With 6 percent saturated fat, canola oil is less saturated than any other vegetable oil on the market.

Palm, palm kernel and coconut oils are vegetable oils that are high in saturated fat.

All oils have approximately the same number of calories: 120 per tablespoon.

If a pot of oil begins to flame, cover immediately with a tight-fitting lid. Do not transport it uncovered.

It is not necessary to refrigerate cooking oils, according to the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils. Refrigeration only marginally extends pantry shelf life -- which is generally six months to a year.

The smoking point (the temperature at which the oil begins to decompose, damaging it for frying) for soybean, corn, cottonseed and peanut oils is around 450 degrees. Their flashpoint (the temperature at which sparks appear) is 625 degrees; fire point (the temperature at which the oil flames) is 685 degrees. Coconut and palm oils are somewhat lower in all three categories. Eight Ways to Lighten Up Your Hanukkah Holiday (in all senses of the word)

Give real money instead of chocolate gelt (this will lighten both your wallet and your waistline).

Set up menorahs in every window of the house. Stage a light show.

Think of eight jokes to tell at the family Hanukkah party. Or vow to laugh even the eighth time your uncle tells the same joke.

Save time by purchasing store-made treats. For example, Katz's Kosher Supermarket in Rockville is selling Hanukkah cookies in its bakery. Giant food store bakeries are selling cupcakes decorated with menorahs and blue icing.

Save work by not dirtying your tablecloths and plates. Buy decorative Hanukkah paper goods at area gift shops. Two places that have them are the Greater Washington Jewish Bookstore and Lisbon, both in Wheaton.

Lighten the kids' (and adults') bedtimes with a chocolate on the pillow -- this time a chocolate Maccabean soldier, available at the B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum Shop. A platoon of nine soldiers for $1.50.

If you're looking for lard-less doughnuts (for sufganiyot), Dunkin' Donuts, Mister Donuts and Pam E K's Donuts all say they cook their jelly doughnuts in vegetable shortening only.

Resist noshing nonstop at the family Hanukkah party, no matter how sincerely your mother says "eat, eat." Remind her that several minutes before, she told you that you looked as though you had put on a couple of pounds.