Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.

BELATED LATKES

I know it's a little late for Hanukkah recipes, but I've been extremely busy over the last month, and I'd be remiss if I didn't post about my culinary adventures.

At the beginning of December, I found a recipe in the newspaper for latkes, the golden, holiday love child of potatoes and oil. I hadn't eaten latkes since my fifth grade teacher, Miriam Spitzer, and her mother cooked them up for our entire class, but I instantly remembered the delicate crunch of fried potato and the light, fluffy center, coupled with a dollop of sour cream. Heaven. If anyone doubts the Jews are God's chosen people, all they need do is bite into a latke. Such
a recipe could only have been divinely inspired.

But I digress. Despite never having made latkes before, I decided it was something I could pull of reasonably well on the first try. After all, I'd made has
h browns, which also involve grated potatoes deep fried in oil, and the whole latke concept didn't seem so far removed. I spent an hour grating Klondike rose potatoes, chopping vidalia onions and mixing the result together with egg, flour, and salt.

The result was
somewhat more goopey than desired - I had to ladle the mixture into the frying pan like a breakfast pancake, rather than shaping it into a pattie and frying it, as the directions suggested - but I think the drippy nature of my potato batter was more a product of my casual approach to following recipes than any fault in the recipe itself.
What came out of the frying pan was better than I expected, and surprisingly similar to my childhood memory of how a latke was supposed to taste. Our friend Cory came over for dinner that night and didn't run away screaming or report being violently ill afterward, so, all in all, I call this attempt at traditional Jewish fare a reasonably yummy success for a shiksa like me.

Since my cooking method involves a lot of "that looks about right" and "I don't have what I need, but I do have applesauce. Let's see what happens!" I've found several recipes for latkes
that might be more helpful to anyone who wants to make them.

My favorite, from NYCnosh.com:
http://www.nycnosh.com/?p=98

A good one from Epicurious.com, which doesn't call for flour:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/104406

Another from My Jewish Learning. Make sure to read the variations at the bottom of the page:
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Hanukkah/TO_Hanukkah_Home/Foods_433/latke_recipe.htm

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