Potato Latkes

For Chanukah (the eight day festival of light) we Jews and F.O.J.s eat latkes. Some of us think about latkes on and off during the year (especially my mom’s latkes). Some of us can’t wait all year and end up Deli’ing for a ‘potato pancake.’ I am of the ‘think about them during the year and wait’ school. My mom who is a total latkes snob really makes the best latkes (indoctrination? brain wash? or truth….) As a result, I think I know something about what a ‘real’ latke should taste like. Let me describe (that sounds jewishy right? My Aunt Esther would have said something like that – ‘come dear, let me describe’). Anyway, a good latke should be thin – not thick. Not meaty, not a round ball. Thin. Flat. With some of the potato shred sticking out of the sides – like in the picture – fried to a crispy deliciousness. My mom always served her latkes with sour cream and apple sauce. Me, I’m kind of a purist. I prefer them with a little Maldon sea salt and nothing else. Oh man. Yum.

Curiously and freakishly, Chanukah started the night before Thanksgiving this year. Apparently that isn’t going to happen again for something like 70,000+ years. So it is a year really worth celebrating. And, since, like I said in my last blog post, we took Thanksgiving on the road this year in order to celebrate with my brother and my niece, we also took Chanukah on the road due to the proximity in time. It was fun. One night Turkey. The next Latkes. Nice.

My niece called Grandma for the recipe and this is what we got:



That's right everyone . . . "Rustic Potatoes" - straight from the mouth of my mother as interpreted by my niece.  You know... the big brown ones. . .  (would that perhaps be a "Russet?").  Onward from adorableness.... My mom is changing as she gets up in age. She’s still sharp in many ways but sometimes forgets things – like – no eggs in the latkes.  She was militant about 'no eggs in the latkes' and turned her nose up at anyone who disagreed with this position.  How her latkes held together without eggs I have no idea. And oddly the recipe she gave my niece included EGGS….. odd odd odd. Maybe she just got tired of them not holding together very well. Anyway, here’s the basic recipe – and I would not recommend a deviation. As good as gold these little, crispy, potato-y, yummy, morsels.


(Recipe by Ellen Neiman)

Cooking latkes

Cooking latkes


4 to 6 Russet Potatoes (My niece typed it up as “rusted kind”! Love it!!)

2 eggs (this is a new addition)

4 Tbsp or more of matzo meal

1 small onion Sour cream

Apple sauce (preferably home made)

Oil (like canola or any vegetable oil that tolerates high heat)

Cooked latkes

Cooked latkes


Grate the potatoes on the small opening - not the smallest but not the biggest - so that they come out kind of mushy. Grate the onion on the small opening – not the smallest but not the biggest - so that it comes out mushy too. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Combine in a large bowl, everything. Heat 1/8” oil in a skillet (you will need to replenish throughout the cooking process) Form the latkes in your hand by pressing flat. Then fry until dark and crispy or however you like them. Alternatively you can spoon batter into the spluttering hot oil and press flat. That works too. My brother made “Deli-style” latkes with the leftover batter - two super big pancakes. They were good too. A little sourcream A little applesauce Dreamy...

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