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December 14, 2008

Hooray For Hanukkah, Latkes!

This year Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins one week from tonight on December 21, 2008. 
The celebration lasts for eight days and commemorates
the rededication of the second Temple at the time of the ancient Maccabees. 

Here is my cover for Hooray for Hanukkah by Fran Manushkin, that I illustrated for Random House a few years ago. In this story the Menorah relates the holiday customs celebrated by the family as a new candle is lit each night until there are eight candles.
The publisher asked me to set the pictures in a city brownstone at the beginning of the 20th century which gave me a chance to illustrate some favorite decor and costumes.
When it came to depicting Latkes, special holiday potato pancakes, there was a humorous discrepancy between the latkes Cathy Goldsmith,  my editor, was familiar with and the latkes I drew in my sketches. My latkes looked like those I had been raised on. They were made from grated potatoes, eggs and matzoh meal which produced the delicious coarse crispy golden fried potato pancakes of my childhood. Her family latkes, on the other hand, as I recall, were made from a smoother potato mixture,  crisp on the outside but more rounded and softer inside. Our "dispute" ended in compromise and this taste-full memory.
LATKE RECIPE - (like my family makes)
(6-ish servings)

2 cups peeled and grated Idaho or Russet potatoes
1 small grated onion
3 beaten eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons of matzoh meal
 salt and pepper to taste
peanut oil

Put grated potatoes in a sieve over a bowl and push with the back of a wooden spoon to release as much moisture as you can.

Mix the potatoes, onion, eggs, matzoh meal together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom frying pan over medium heat until hot.

Place 4 heaping spoonfuls of potato mixture in the hot oil and flatten each to between 1/2 and 1/4 inch thickness. Brown on one side (about 4-5 minutes)  then use a spatula to turn and brown them on the other side.
Remove when done and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with sour crean , apple sauce or yoghurt.

To good to eat not only on Hanukkah, yum!

Read what Fran Manushkin, the Author, has to say about writing the book, HOORAY FOR HANUKKAH at for hanukkak.htm

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I have a goggle news alert for anytime my name gets mentioned and it send me word of this. How are you? I'm so fond of HOORAY FOR HANUKKAH? Fran