At this season, when we are told “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” some people are less than cheery. There are several conditions which make people feel sad, and I’ve got one of them. I’ve determined that I suffer from Latke Envy.
Latkes are on the list of recipes I did not grow up with but that I am called to cook in our interfaith household. (See recipe and photo. And here for Boy Scout latke recipe.)
On Saturday the Common Household Husband and I went to a Hanukkah party for adults. We were anxious about what to bring, and decided against a bottle of wine, as our taste leans toward the kool-aid types, and the party hosts would not only have a more refined taste, but also probably have their own wine cellar. I decided to bring cookies. The other 65 guests brought wine, so my intuition was correct on that.
At the party I noticed that the latkes were beautiful perfect circles, and a lovely golden-brown. Did I mention that this party was catered?
On Sunday, back in our So Very Common Household, I spent an hour and a half making latkes. This is a laborious process, even with the use of the Jewish cook’s favorite cooking tool, the food processor. I found that some of my potatoes were inedible, with black spots in the middle (Pittsburgh potato famine?!). After an hour of simultaneous two-frying-pan cooking, I only had 24 small, thin, irregularly-shaped latkes to show for my effort. Oy vey! My son alone could eat 24 latkes at one meal.
As we were sitting down to dinner, Youngest Daughter said in a cheerful voice, "Mommy! I forgot to tell you! You and Shane's Mom can make latkes for my English class. We're reading The Diary of Anne Frank and we're at the part where it's Hanukkah!" She revealed that there was a class discussion as to whose Mom, among the two Jewish students in her class, makes the best latkes.
My first response was to look plaintively at my husband. I said, “I have been volunteered.”
But then I noticed that YD didn’t say, “you must make latkes” but rather, “you can…” Word choice matters! I was emboldened.
"No, I can NOT make latkes for your English class.” I surrendered that honor to Shane's Mom. She wins.
We lit the candles, said the blessings, and started our meal. The family expressed their disappointment at the number of latkes. My Latke Envy surged.
I said to my husband, “Did you notice that the latkes at that party last night were perfectly round? How do they DO that?”
He said, “Well. They use the Ronco Latke-matic.”
Ah. As seen on TV! Makes perfectly round latkes every time! Call now, and you can also get the gefilte fish mold for just $9.95! Makes a wonderful gift for the goyim who suffer from latke envy! While supplies last.
What December cooking task do you wish Ronco made a tool for?