He used his great-grandmother Nellie Wiseman's recipe including her slight variation adding parsnips and horseradish.
Wiseman brought her recipe to Gary, Ind., from London, England, in the 19th century. She died in the 1920s, but passed the recipe to Roach's grandmother who gave it to his mother who passed it down to him.
Roach says latkes are easy to make.
"When I make them at home I pan fry them in schmaltz [rendered chicken, duck or goose fat]. But when I'm making 400 at a time or catering them, I bake them at 450 degrees in a convection oven. You just have to use enough oil," Roach said.
NELLIE WISEMAN'S POTATO LATKES WITH PARSNIP & HORSERADISH
1 1/2 pounds parsnip, peeled
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, other types work too
1/4 pound onion, peeled
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or 3/4 cup corn starch for gluten-free
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 scant pinch pepper
Oil for frying or coating, as needed
Grate parsnip, potato and onion. Onion can be finely diced if grating is too hard on eyes.
Press grated vegetables in a strainer to remove most of the liquid. Combine all ingredients except oil in a large bowl. Mix until everything is evenly distributed.
FRYING PAN METHOD: Heat 1/4-inch of a neutral oil such as canola or vegetable in a pan to 350 degrees. Fry 6 silver-dollar sized pancakes at a time.
Brown each side for about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
CONVECTION OVEN METHOD: Make silver-dollar sized latkes. Place on an oiled sheet pan.
Spray the top side of the latkes with a neutral oil from aerosol or trigger bottle.
Place in 450 degree convection oven until brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Makes 50 silver-dollar sizes pancakes
If you go ...
What: Wild Oats Market 30th anniversary celebration
Where: 320 Main St. (Route 2) Williamstown.
When: Cake and ice cream served at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Information: (413) 458-8060 or see calendar at http://wildoats.coop/events/