Family Latke Dispute

I wrote this essay for the Ranch Foods Direct Newsletter, which you can pick up in its entirety at their store near Fillmore Rd.  I bet my family isn’t the only one with a holiday recipe dispute.  Tell us about yours!  And by all means, post the recipe!


Chanukah, a Jewish holiday, begins on December 20th this year.  Over 2000 years ago, the Jews reclaimed the Temple of Jerusalem from a marauding army.  They found only enough oil to keep the eternal light lit for one day, but, miraculously, the oil burned for 8 days, enough time to get more oil.  Thus, we celebrate for 8 days and traditional Chanukah foods are fried in oil.

Those traditional foods include latkes (potato pancakes).  In typical familial fashion, my mother and I have something of a disagreement about how to prepare them.  She feels the potatoes should be blended into a lumpy batter and I feel, equally strongly, that they should be shredded and left to their own shape.  The debate is now as much a tradition as the food!

Potato Latkes


1 lb potatoes

1/2 cup onion

1 large egg

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c olive oil or chicken fat

Grate the potatoes and onion.  Press as much liquid as you can out of the mixture.  Mix together.  Add the egg and salt.  (If you are trying the blended recipe, put the mixture into the blender or food processor and process until it’s lumpy, like mashed potatoes and then add a tablespoon of flour to thicken.)

Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet until hot, but not smoking.  Flatten 2 tablespoons of batter  and fry on each side until brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve hot, with applesauce or sour cream.


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