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Dec 4, 2007 05:46 PM

Shiksa needs some latke advice

I'm having some people over for a casual brunch on Saturday and, even though I'm not Jewish, I thought we could do something with the latke theme since it's Hannukah and all. (I'm sure I mispelled that, as I always do in different ways, but I'm too lazy to spellcheck right now.) Anyway, here are my questions -- I'm in Park Slope, where can I get good latkes in the vicinty? I bet someone will reply that they are a snap to make and the truth is I love to cook, but a) due to an unfortunate incident at my mother's house over ten years ago, I'm a bit of a fryphobe and b) I have two kids under the age off 4, times like this you outsource. So again, where can I get good latkes and what else goes with latkes? What exactly is served at a tasty Chanukah (any closer this time?) celebration?

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  1. post here or poke around older posts.
    Latke's and Sufganiyot are equally
    symbolic to the week of Hannukah.

    any fruit compote or apple sauce will
    compliment Latke's well. a bit of sour
    cream or various yogurts works well too.

    the "celebration" centers more around
    lighting candles on the Menorah, and
    revisiting the historical story, than it
    does any symbolically eaten food.

    Dreidel spinning top games are used
    to help convey that story to children.

    gift giving is just something Jews borrow
    from Xmas so their kids don't feel left out.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Joe Berger

      Here's a variation on the theme of "sufganyot"...those unbelievable jelly doughnuts at "7th AVENUE DONUTS" near 9th Street...ask for and make sure you get the freshest ones out of the fryer.

      1. re: Mike R.

        Much as I love the donuts at 7th Avenue Donuts, and I do love them, if the OP is looking for kosher foodstuff then 7th Ave is not the place to go. There are places on 13th Ave in Boro Park in the 40's and 50's that sell ready to go latkes and sufganiyot.

        I have a history question as an aside. Since potatoes are New World produce what were latkes made from before 1492? Any culinary historians?

        1. re: bigmackdaddy

          Oh gee thanks, now you have me wondering. I am willing to bet that they didn't do potato latkes before the days of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, but you have me curious. Fortunately, my sister gets even more obsessed with things like this and I bet she will figure out a way to find out.

          1. re: bigmackdaddy

            The internet is a wonderful thing. Don't know how accurate these articles are, but it seems latke started as made with cheese...Both articles have some interesting history of the latke.


            1. re: bigmackdaddy

              Since the OP didn't indicate must-be-kosher, I threw out the idea...FYI, my latest foray up to 7th Avenue Donuts was about the best ever...hard to believe there's a trans-fat ban goin' on, either in the Slope or Borough Park.

        2. Just go buy the Dr. Prager's potato pancakes, in the frozen section..they are excellent and all natural, and you can just put them on broil for 10 min a side, not greasy at all, and serve them with some applesauce on the side--this will be better than getting something takeout and then 2 year old loves these by the way--and also the spinach ones....

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. First of all, there are probably 42 different ways to spell that eight-day holiday, so don't feel bad. I see no problem in using frozen latkes under the circumstances. My advice is to make sure your oven is good and hot before you put the latkes in the oven. I think I've had either Tabatchnick's or Mrs. Cohen's, and they were not bad. Never had Dr. Prager's. The most common things to serve with latkes are the previously mentioned applesauce and sour cream.

              There really aren't too many traditional Hanukkah foods. The most common ones, already mentioned here, typically revolve around the use of oil, to symbolize that oil used to light a lamp lasted eight days instead of the expected one (hence the 8 candles on the menorah). My sister-in-law is making matzoh ball soup (not necessarily traditional for the holiday, but hey, it's getting cold here in NY and my nephew likes it), we're getting a deli platter, so no one has to work so hard and we're doing the homemade latke routine (no kids under 4, no unfortunate frying incident and a few teenagers who like to help at the stove) and Mom is making homemade apple sauce. It's an easy meal and leaves more time for relaxing with the family.

              Question for those in the know...are sufganyot only around at Hanukkah time? I won't be able to get to the "religious" area near here when it's not Shabbat and I would like to try some.

              1. The original comment has been removed