Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018
Good morning, foodie friends.
Happy Hanukkah! Let me be up front: this Catholic features editor didn’t have her first taste of matzo ball soup until about three years ago, when my lovely colleague, Jeffrey Borak, brought a bowl in, made by his even lovelier wife. I had my first taste of kugel at my best friend’s bridal shower — her mother plopped the delicious, creamy, sweet noodles on my plate, proclaiming, “It’s not a party without kugel.” (It’s true, at least at their house. I’ve yet to attend a function without Mrs. Klein’s kugel present.)
But latkes, yes, latkes, we can all get behind. Who has the thinnest, the crispiest? What kind of potato to use? The variations and tastiness are endless. My Polish mother and grandmother had their own version of the Eastern European dish. We called them potato pancakes and ate them on Friday afternoons during Lent; my mother standing over the stove while we inhaled them as fast as she could fry them. The difference between latkes and potato pancakes depends on the maker: both are essentially made with some kind of potato and a binder, such as egg. And, most importantly, fried.
At The Great Barrington Bagel Company & Deli — where you can order their thin, crispy latkes until Sunday, Dec. 9 — they make latkes "the old-fashioned way," according to Bob Climo, owner of the Great Barrington establishment. "We take Idaho potatoes and we shred them with a box grater by hand. [We add] Matzo meal and egg and fry them off in hot oil."
You can't go wrong with a classic recipe like that. Food columnist Robin Anish offered up a few topping suggestions, in addition to the traditional applesauce and sour cream: sour cream with thinly sliced cucumber and a sprig of dill; whipped cream cheese and hot pepper jelly; a dab of chutney and whipped cream cheese; guacamole, sour cream and salsa; or prosciutto, shaved parmesan and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
In other food news, there are still cookies. So many cookies.
Warm wishes for a Happy Hanukkah!
Managing Editor of Features