My favorite types of foods are those that have meaning, purpose and tradition. Every winter I smell the oil splattering throughout the kitchen, I’m reminded of Hanukkah family get togethers at my grandparents and my parent’s homes. The places where as children we quickly shoved the latkes in our mouths, with grease dripping down our chins, in anticipation of the unwrapping of gifts that happened after dinner.
Latkes (Yiddish: לאַטקע) are traditionally eaten by Jews during the Hanukkah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is symbolic of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle.
The past few years I’ve prepared potato pancakes for my family from the orange Manischevitz box resulting in easy, tasty latkes. Each year, I’m surprised that my children were not interested in trying them.
“Who doesn’t like fried potatoes?” I ask them in disbelief.
This year, I’m avoiding packaged and preservative heavy foods and decided with my Dad’s expertise – we would prepare latkes from scratch. My children are especially interested as Grandma’s Latkes is one of my daughter’s most requested stories year round and my son is absorbing his learnings from Sunday School and sharing with us stories of our ancestors.
The recipe is basic and allows opportunity for the kids to help in grating the potatoes and mixing the other ingredients. Encourage them to set the table during the frying portion, as it gets very hot. Be sure to open a window, as the boiling oil will leave your home smelling like a fondue restaurant for days.
I smiled as I watched my children quickly eating the homemade latkes as I noticed a little oil dribbling down their chins.
3 large potatoes
1 small onion
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Wash potatoes and the grate into a bowl.
Grate in onion and add eggs. flour, salt and pepper.
Let sit for 10 minutes to thicken.
Heat oil in frying pan.
Drop tablespoons of mixture into pan.
When the pancakes are brown around the edges, turn and fry the otherside until crispy.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve with sour cream and applesauce.