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December 14, 1979 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-12-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

26 Friday, December 14, 1979

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Jewish Holiday Cookbook Offers Historical
Background of Many Traditional Recipes

Compilers of Jewish
cookbooks have unusual
opportunities to serve not
only as gourmets but also to
be interpreters of historical
experiences.
When offering recipes
and menus, relating to fes-
tivals, they can provide ex-
planations of the holidays,
as well as of the countries
where the specialties in
foods were popularized.
The Jewish Holiday
Kitchen" by Joan Nathan
(Schocken Books) is this
type of informative combi-
nation that provides recipes
and makes them an in-
separable part of the Jewish
holiday celebrations.
The more than 150 re-
cipes in the Joan Nathan
book add delight to the
Sabbath and all the
Jewish festivals.
Miss Nathan defines the
laws of kashrut and the ob-
servers of the dietery laws

are greatly assisted by her.
History, tradition and
food requirements for the
holidays, as well as for spe-
cial'family celebrations are
specifically annotated in
this interesting book.
Tracing her recipes to all
parts of the world where
Jews lived, each recipe is
supplemented with a vig-
nette about the origin of the
dish. With such back-
grounds, the author has
provided authoritative
status for her compilation.
New appliances are
suggested and the mod-
ern cook is enabled to
provide the best in foods
while adhering to tradi-
tions.
Miss Nathan has a rich
background as a food con-
sultant. She has been a food
consultant for the Smithso-
nian Institution's Folk Life
Festival. She co-authored
"The Flavor of Jerusalem."
Especially timely are her
Hanuka recipes and the fol-
lowing are notable samples
of her work:

POTATO LATKES

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What exactly is the
Hanuka-latke connection?
Latke is the Yiddish word
for pancake. According to
Webster's, it probably goes
back to the Greek elaion
olive oil). "Kartoflani
platske" is still the term
used to describe a potato
pancake eaten in the Uk-
raine.
It is the same food that
the Jews, living in the Pale
of Settlement in the 17th
Century, probably adapted
for Hanuka. Because their
daily diet consisted of
potatoes and bread, they
wanted to include a special
dish cooked in oil to sym-
bolize the main miracle of
Hanuka. This potato pan-
cake, already used by Uk-
rainians with goose for
Christmas, seemed a good
and relatively inexpensive
choice. Because Hanuka
falls at the season when
geese are plentiful, goose fat
was an obvious and inex-
pensive substitute for the
original olive oil.

As the menorah lights are
kindled once more,
may your heart be filled with
the special -beauty
that is Hanukah.

AL,

Michigan National
Corporation Banks

MEMBERS FDIC.

For American Jews in-
trigued with the gas-
tronomic side of Judaism,
Hanuka appears to be the
preferred holiday. It is dif-
ficult to equal the taste of
brown, crisp potato latkes.
Can gefilte fish, matza
balls, haroset, or even
hamantashen compare with
them? Certainly not.
Moreover, every latke lover
seems to know how to make
these potato pancakes —
admirers of, say, gefilte fish
may be forced to an outside
source — and has strong
opinions about them.
One will swear by a
medium grater, another by
the larger variety, and
modernists by the grater on
the food processor. Some
prefer pepper, others salt.
Some add apples; others,
grated zucchini, carrot ; or
parsley. Some insist on
grated and others on
sauteed onions. And then, of
course, there are the purists
who contend that only old
potatoes and bruised knuck-
les will do.
Latkes have become a
versatile delicacy. They can
be made from buckwheat or
potatoes with a touch of
flour. They can be served for
breakfast, brunch, lunch,
dinner, or as cocktail-party
fare. They can be eaten
plain or fancy, with sugar,
applesauce, sour cream, or
even with chicken soup.
• • •

10 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
2 large or 3 medium eggs
Ms cup unbleached all-purpose
flour, breadcrumbs, or matza
meal
Salt and white pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
Peel the potatoes if the skin
is coarse; otherwise, just
clean them well. Keep them in
cold water until ready to pre-
pare latkes.
Starting with the onions,
alternately grate some of the
onions on the large holes of
the grater and some of the
potatoes on the smallest
holes. This will keep the potato
mixture from blackening.
Press out as much liquid as
possible and reserve the star-
chy sediment at the bottom of
the bowl. Return the sediment
to the mixture.
Blend potatoes with the
eggs, flour, sale and white
pepper. Heat 1" of oil in a fry-
ing pan. Drop about 1 table-
spoon of mixture for each latke
into the skillet and fry, turning
once. When golden and crisp
on each side, drain on paper
towels. Serve with yogurt,
sour cream, sugar or
applesauce. Serves 8-10. (P)
Note: People are always ask-
ing me about freezing potato
latkes. You can! After making
them, place them on a cookie
sheet, freeze, and remove to "a
plastic bag. When ready to
serve, place in a 450 degree
oven for several minutes.

•• '
ROMANIAN ZUCCHINI
POTATO LATKES
2 pounds zucchini
2 large potatoes
1 medium onion
3 eggs
1 tsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup matza meal
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Peel the zucchini and grate
down to the seeds, discard the

seeds. Squeeze out

the liquid.
Peel the potatoes and grate
into the zucchini. Once more,
remove the liquid. This is im-
portant!
Grate the onion and add to
the zucchini mixture. Add the
eggs, oil, and matza meal,
starting with 1/2 cup of matza
meal and continuing to add
more if necessary, until there
is body to the mixture. Season
with sale and pepper to taste
and blend well.
In a large, heavy frying pan,
heat some vegetable oil until
almost smoking. Using a large
tablespoon, spoon a round
portion of zucchini mixture
into the pan and brown on both
sides. Serve hot with sour
cream or applesauce. Makes
18 large pancakes and serves
6-8.
(The steel blade of a food
processor or the grating blade
are less painful ways of grat-
ing the potatoes and onions.
The blade makes a smooth
consistency and the grater a
crunchy one.)

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