Friday, May 14, 2021

Life & Style

Liven Up Your Latkes

My new hip is perfect. My hip has given me a new lease on life. I was on my walker for a few days, onto my cane the next week, and driving on the third.

And best of all, it included a visit from my daughter who came for two weeks that felt like two days.

Thanksgiving was as perfect as that holiday can be without any of my family members together. My next-door neighbors and I shared a traditional meal and, for some reason, everything tasted better than it had been in other times. And, of course, there were the sandwiches.

My longest drive was to Madison, to see my sweet friends Lisa and Eric and their dog Lucy. We ate outside on a lovely day and when it got a little cooler, Eric plugged into a heat lamp. We ate Lisa’s quiche, roasted potatoes dusted with truffle oil, and a bright, green salad that was so delicious I could not eat enough of it. Lisa says the secret is white balsamic. Knowing her, a bottle will be in my mailbox soon.

Now the rest of the holidays are almost here. Hanukkah this year starts on Thursday, Dec. 10 and ends on the evening of Friday, Dec. 18.

That means it is time for latkes.

Here is a recipe I have used for years. The recipe calls for using a hand grater for the potatoes and the onions, but, honestly, I use a food processor. The only difficult part is wringing out the potato and onion water, but it is a small matter and worth it when you get to eat them.

And, by the way, latkes could be for any holiday, or no holiday at all, especially if you add these toppings from the new Food Magazine: pastrami, warmed sauerkraut, and spicy mustard; egg salad with chopped chives, dill, and salmon roe; hummus, chopped Kalamata olives, and chopped parsley; thinly sliced fennel and lemon juice; ricotta, a pinch of cayenne, and honey; gravlax and crème fraiche; or warmed refried beans, shredded, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, and thinly sliced scallion.

At our house, we would serve it with two big bowls of applesauce and sour cream. My parents told me that whether people eat latkes with apple sauce or sour cream depends on whether their ancestors are from the (richer) German-Spanish-Austrian (apple sauce) or the less-classy Polish or Russian relatives (sour cream). Mine are from the less-classy relatives, but I love and serve both.

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at


Yield: serves 8 to 10



6 to 8 large russet potatoes

1 medium onion

2 large eggs

¼ cup matzoh meal or flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil

salt and pepper, to taste



Peel potatoes and onions. Cut them into chunks that will feed in the feeding tube of the food processor. With the grating disk, grate potatoes and onions into food processor. Place grated potatoes and onions into a colander and push as much liquid out. Then (here’s the hard part), put grated potatoes and onion into a clean dish towel and squeeze, squeeze, and squeeze.

Put squeezed potatoes and onions into a bowl. Mix eggs, flour or matzoh meal, and baking powder into the potatoes and onions. Add salt and pepper.

Heat about an inch of oil into a skillet until fairly hot. Drop tablespoons of mixture into the skillet and fry, turning once. (I sometimes flatten the pancakes a bit.) Drain on paper towels.

You can keep the pancakes warm in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve, but I find that people want to eat them as soon as they come out of the skillet and are drained.

Lee White is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Lee at .

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