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The Miracle of the Latkes

December 19, 2017

Happy Chanukah! Tonight is the eighth night of the festival of lights. And as always, it’s a little bit of a relief for a couple of reasons.

First, it means that I can stop eating fried food every day. Huzzah! As much as I love the stuff, after eating hot oily foods for a few days in a row, I’m ready to take a break.

Second, we are now moving out of the political firestorm of “Happy Holidays” and firmly into “Merry Christmas” territory. The last thing I want is for anyone to think that I’m part of the war against Christmas. Although I have to admit that from my vantage point the only war against Christmas comes from the gross commercialization and consumerism that seem to have become an inextricable part of the holiday.

That aside, today is about latkes, because this year I experienced a small miracle.

Some of you may recall that Mrs. Fussy is not a fan of onions. In fact, she kind of hates them. And I’m often struggling to find ways to make food with onions that she will eat. Over the years, I’ve learned that if I cut them up really small, don’t use too many, and cook the hell out of ’em, I can sneak them into a recipe.

Latkes have been trickier. Mostly because there are so few ingredients, there aren’t a lot of places that onions can hide. And since they are mixed in raw with the potatoes and eggs, there is only so much they will cook in the oil.

In the distant past, I remember making a batch of latkes at home without onions. The things we do for love. However, I was in no rush to try that again.

This year we were fortunate to have a few different latke eating experiences, and as a result came up with a new theory on the nature of latkes and onions. Because even though there were onions in Deanna Fox’s latkes, Mrs. Fussy still enjoyed them. Fox’s latkes were different from the ones at our congregation’s annual Chanukah dinner, which Mrs. Fussy found too oniony.

The difference was the fineness of the batter. When latke batter in mostly shredded like hash browns, the resulting potato pancakes have more nooks and crannies to them. Our hypothesis is that the interior gets a little more cooked than when the batter is more of a uniform texture.

Personally, I like them both ways. I’m really just a sucker for fried foods.

Last night I even fried a batch at home. While we did have a box of frozen latkes from Trader Joe’s as an emergency backup, I broke out the Cuisinart and shredded 2.5 pounds of potatoes. The recipe I was using called for just one small onion. It was a risky proposition, but I was cautiously optimistic.

Huzzah! Success! Mrs. Fussy loved them. The kids loved them. And together we made a meal out of nothing but fried potatoes, sour cream, and apple sauce. More importantly, I stayed in the kitchen cranking out latkes while everyone ate, so we could all enjoy them hot and crisp right out of the pan.

I’m also full of nachas because this is the year that Little Miss Fussy finally discovered the joys of sour cream on potato latkes. That’s my girl!

Tonight, the family may have to content themselves with the box of frozen latkes from Trader Joe’s. There were no leftovers, and I’m heading off to Troy for an Official Yelp Event at Hudson-Chatham Winery’s new tasting room. The event is totally full, so if you aren’t already on the guest list, you are out of luck. But I hope to tell you more about it in the days to come.

In the meantime, enjoy this last day to gorge yourself on fried foods with a clear conscience, even if it’s just a Bella Napoli blueberry jelly donut.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Don permalink
    December 19, 2017 11:44 am

    Only 6 weeks till Tu Bishevat. Start thinking fruit, especially dried fruit.

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