Thursday, December 06, 2007

A plethora of latkes


Call my cardiologist
London, ON, December 2007 [Click to clog another artery]


They're not really all that healthy. OK, they're downright deadly, as anything fried in oil is likely to be in this age of health-labelled foods and exploding rates of obesity (ironic? Me? No.)

But they're incredibly tasty with just the right amount of sour cream or apple sauce. And Chanukah (or Hannukah, or however you choose to spell it) just wouldn't be the same without them. It's as if the house needs to have the telltale aroma of fried potatoes for it to really feel like it's a holiday.

So for an eight-day span in December, we'll eat stuff we really shouldn't eat because it's good for our soul, it makes it real for our kids, and it gives us all a chance to appreciate our unique place in a world that rarely gives minorities a chance to put a stamp on their uniqueness. As we try to raise our kids to value who they are and keep our traditions alive for yet another generation, we look to simple holiday traditions like cholesterol-laden potato pancakes to help reinforce the process.

It isn't easy. No one ever said it would be. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Your turn: Touchstones of your season. Please discuss.

One more thing: I wrote a column about the holiday a couple of years back. It's entitled The puzzle of passing down faith, and it was published in our city's daily paper, the London Free Press. Click here for the link to the blog entry. Enjoy the read.

29 comments:

Omykiss said...

Hello michele sent me ... and I KNOW ... EVERYTHING that tastes good is BAD for you ..... my last post was all about a visit to an ice cream factory so I KNOW!!!!

Rainbow dreams said...

have to say I nevr quite appreciated the delights of a nothern chip shop til I met my husband..
however everything in moderation they say.. :)
a bit of what you fancy does you good.. and if it's good for the soul thats good enough for me.. enjoy - we all need a certain amount of cholesterol anyhow...it's essential in fact, x

Shephard said...

I love latkes! :)
Haven't had any in ages. But there's a great deli in Beverly Hills with fantastic mazzo ball soup and latkes. Sigh. Now I'm hungry!

~S :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Most awesome Hanukkah post -- especially the bit about minorities being given a chance to put a stamp on their uniqueness. How true. And how nice that someone GETS it -- yeah, even if you are a fellow member of the tribe.

Hug Samaech, my friend. May the oil burn for eight days -- but not in your heart. (heart -- burn ... bad one, I know. Sorry.)

Tawcan said...

You just need to learn a way to burn off those calories. It's ok to eat BAD food once in a while.

Michele sent me here.

MissMeliss said...

Michele sent me to visit this time, and I'm here to ask, "Have you heard the song 'Sour Cream or Apple Sauce'?"

Seriously, I miss latkes. Bubbie used to spend eons grating the potatoes to make them from scratch...now, I resort to the closest thing available which is potato pancakes (not at ALL the same thing, as they're mostly pancake, not potato).

Beverly said...

May your days of Hannukah be very happy ones. And enjoy your latkes. I will go read your other posts.

la bellina mammina said...

An interesting read... Am Muslim but my 2 elder boys are half Catholic (their dad was Italian) and my youngest is half Christian (some day I'll tell you the story) Frankly, never heard of this tradition. We still follow the Italian tradition, which is having the pandoro cake after dinner X'mas eve (we open x'mas presents at midnight), for breakfast on X'mas day, and in my household.. for breakfast the following days until the new year. Bit of an exaggeration I know! Maybe I'll blog about it the following days to come...

sister AE said...

Yum! We'll make a batch this year when we have friends over on Saturday night - with homemade applesauce!

Another seasonal thing for me is the rush-rush this end of the month as my choir sings concerts. We'll be done by mid-month when the group goes on hiatus until January.

Bubblehead said...

Thanks for giving me your link to your May post from China.

The holidays always start with my MILs fudge and culminates with a think Prime Rib on Christmas day. After seeing the Latkes I decided I need more Jewish friends.

PI said...

I don't really like mince pies Christmas pud and cake etc and would swop for your beauties any day. In the winter we meed to warm our innards and a bit of fat is necessary for a feeling of well being. i find myself eating porridge with honey every morning. My treats are all the chocolatey, sugary, fruity desserts. I'm off to read the link and Michele sends her best.

Joan said...

I am sad to say I have never tasted a latke, though I have heard they are sinfully delicious. How do they differ from other fried potato treats, like hash browns or tater tots?

My family has always celebrated Christmas, though there are Jewish roots on my mom's side I've gotten more interested in exploring as I've matured. But I didn't feel very Christmas-y last year due to certain life events, and since we just moved, I don't know how much decorating I'll be able to do this year, either.

It really feels like Christmas to me when the house is all decorated and glowing, and there are Christmas cookies everywhere and more in the oven. Maybe I'll do some baking this weekend to see if I can get into the spirit. And maybe I'll try to hunt up a recipe for My First Latke. ;-)

gautami tripathy said...

That looks yummy! What are festivals without food? During Diwali, I gorge myself with all sort of food.

Certain foods are only made during that season. I am going to miss those? No way! I can always jog afterwards to get back into shape.

Do you think Michele would not touch anything with lots of calories?


rooted
reading room

Anne said...

I hit on two blogs today with pictures of frying latkes.

Maybe I'll make a batch over the weekend.

Touchstone of the season? The Christmas hymns in church, of course, but also the aroma of a fresh cut Christmas tree, too. Smells are wonderful triggers.

This visit courtesy of Michele.

Laurie said...

Mmmm oh so tasty!

Happy Chanukah to you and your family.

WendyWings said...

Michele sent me to drool today, those look so good and so bad all at once lol.
Happy Chanukah !

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

We did a Advent wreath this year...something we plan on doing in future years. We are Christian...non-denominational.We do feel some allegiance to parts of Judiasm. For Advent we have been drinking Kosher blackberry wine. We often discuss the similarities between Judaism and Christianity with a Jewish friend.

Michelle sent me. :-)

Oracle said...

31 years in and i am still finding my faith.

so this is a difficult question fo rme to answer at the moment but i think the touchstone of everyones faith in themselves should in some way be their family what ever the religion?

As for the potato fritters ooooohh I can't tell you how hungry i am at the moment...

See todays post

;(

barbie2be said...

Mmmmmmm... i love me some potato latkes with applesauce!

michele sent me over to see the pic today.

happy hanukkah to you and yours!

Lori said...

The touchstones of my holidays are time spent with family, watching traditional Christmas movies (Holiday Inn, White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, The Christmas Gift, Three Days..just to name a few!) and listening to a tape of my brother's beautiful piano music while I decorate the house and make sugar cookies. Sigh...to capture it all and hold that wonderful feeling..

honestyrain said...

oh those look good. for me it's cheesie potatoes. dan's sister makes them every christmas every christmas eve. there is nothing cultrual about them but i would never make them in my own home and so look forward to desperately.

you know who sent me.

http://honestyrain.com

David said...

i NEED latkes, soon, please!

Sara said...

Those look so good...I haven't had those in years...there used to be a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Fl that I used to go to - and I loved having their latkes!

Sherrie said...

That pic made me hungry! I love Latkes, if you want to talk about unhealthy I make Rossti (fried potatoes Swiss side, I dont actually know the difference) but then I coat them in bacon and cheese. There are some veggies on top but oh is it delicious!

Soul food is just as important as vegetables. :-)

This is Sherrie from sticky apple kisses but your blog only lets you leave a message as a google blogger or with your google Id!

Smiler said...

Mmmmmm potato latkes... oh yes. I make pretty decent ones actually, as taught to me by my Polish granny. Applesauce AND sour cream for me please. I just spoke to my dad in Israel who was eating a sufgania. How I miss all that.

Wanted to say thank you for your thoughtful comment on my blog. I responded to you over there but wasn't sure you'd see it, and was due for a visit here besides. Happy Hanukkah. Enjoy all that great soul food.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Ahhhhh yes, Latkes! AS only my mother and my grandmother could make them...! But they were Butter users! So ours were always made with butter.....Still lots of cholesterol...LOL!
I think it is lovely that you are passing n the traditions of all the Jewish Holidays to your kids. It is how these things continue and it is not always easy to do!
Hey, maybe you'd like to "overnight" me a Latke or two, just for the nolstagia of it all....LOL!

Blond Girl said...

Carmi... I have just discovered challah. Wonderful stuff! I'm wondering if it is part of your holiday dinner, every day, whenever? So yummy. and perhaps not as deadly as a latka.. lol

Jessica Foster said...

Every year my mom and i made these candy cane cookies with crushed peppermint candies-basically sugar cookies with half dyed red. We'd twist the dough to make a candy cane shape. Oh, and Russian tea cakes, some people call them snowballs. Even though she's gone it just isn't the holiday without her. When I make them I think of mom. I think it's the same for my siblings because many of us end up bringing the same things to holiday gatherings.

Anne said...

can you send me your latke recipe?

MSM