Buckwheat Groats fried in schmaltz FTW
December 22, 2016 1:34 PM   Subscribe

 
This goyim will have one of each. Two of the bunuelos.
posted by SansPoint at 1:51 PM on December 22, 2016


1) Despite having gone to the University of Chicago, I have no idea how this is a debate. Since the first time I had a latke, as a young gentile who accepted a piping hot latke from a stranger in a hotel hallway (how did my parents let that happen?), I've known that they were magical.

2) It's an interesting story, but it feels click baity to talk about how it's "not traditional." How old must something be to be traditional? I'm, coincidentally, reading Jane Ziegelman's 97 Orchard, a book on immigrant cooking on the Lower East Side, and in her telling potato dishes, including latkes, have been part of Jewish cooking since the 18th century. Not long in the scheme of Jewish history, but surely long enough to be traditional.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:54 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've been making a lot of chicken stock lately and something deep in my Jewish soul has compelled me to keep all the schmaltz from each batch. Now I understand why.

Blessed are You Adonai, Lord of the Universe, Who commands us to fry latkes in chicken fat.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 2:05 PM on December 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


There's a food truck around here that will serve you two of them as the "bread" part of a pressed sandwich - I favour the pastrami and cheese. Probably not very traditional but very tasty.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Everything You Know About Latkes Is Wrong

I know they are delicious. I know my mom is making a big batch on the 24th.

If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by Frayed Knot at 2:13 PM on December 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Duck fat.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:18 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Goose fat. Jews also brought foie gras to Europe. Fattened goose was traditional Hanukkah fare for a long time.

Sholem Aleichem has a story called Geese. "You feed them and take good care of them," says one character. "Comes Hanukkah, you start killing them, and you turn geese into cash."

The fat was saved for Passover. The down was saved for pillows.

It's next-to-impossible to get a kosher goose now. Expensive, and they must be ordered as much as a month in advance. We've lost a lot of our traditions.

But we used to eat lungen stew, a cow's lung stewed up with garlic and onions. So maybe some traditions we can do without.
posted by maxsparber at 2:27 PM on December 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Buñuelos are also very similar to beignets.
posted by kadmilos at 2:31 PM on December 22, 2016


Oh dear Lord. I just found a Minnesota place that sells lung as dog food. I might have to order some and make lungen stew.
posted by maxsparber at 2:35 PM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a vegetarian, but sometimes you just got to try a bit of tradition.
posted by maxsparber at 2:36 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh no, they sell spleen too. I can make miltz, which is stuffed spleen. Hanukkah just got very weird for me.
posted by maxsparber at 2:39 PM on December 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


I favour the pastrami and cheese. Probably not very traditional but very tasty.

Unless it's vegan cheese then no, it's not very traditional.
posted by aspo at 2:48 PM on December 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Goose fat. Jews also brought foie gras to Europe. Fattened goose was traditional Hanukkah fare for a long time.

Apparently my great-grandmother's chopped goose liver was famous. Legend tells that she was once given a WHOLE NEW GOOSE in exchange for a bowl of the chopped liver of the previous goose.

My Nana's latkes were amazing (plenty of tradition for me, Bulgaroktonos!). This year is the first year we'll make them without her and I think they'll go really well with Sunday's Christmas Turkey. Kosher, of course, so my parents can enjoy together with my in-laws.
posted by prettypretty at 3:00 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


I make latkes out of all kinds of root vegetables, including carrots and turnips, both of which would've been available to European Jews and both of which turn out delish. If not olive oil then walnut or poppy oil would both be a period-appropriate substitution.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:05 PM on December 22, 2016


I'm a vegetarian, but sometimes you just got to try a bit of tradition.

I know, right? You think giving up meat would be easy, but then you start thinking about lungs and spleen...

*Takes sad forkful of vegetarian haggis*
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:09 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


I haven't tried them myself, but my brother's family puts kim chee in their latkes. He says they're delicious.

And the food truck in Seattle with pressed latkes sandwiches is Napkin Friends.
posted by ShooBoo at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2016


"Cooked in duck fat" is my pay attention pass phrase.
posted by srboisvert at 3:38 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


....Ohhh, groats, not goats. Never mind.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:48 PM on December 22, 2016


My mom once served lung to me. I was little, so this was in Brooklyn before 1950, and we got meat from a kosher butcher. I remember that I took one bite and could not swallow it.

The lung looked like liver (which I did and do not much like, but is ok to eat) and in fact had a flavor much like liver, but the inedible texture (and toughness) of a sponge. She had neglected to tell me what it was until I tried it.
posted by hexatron at 4:17 PM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


...and venturing somewhat off-topic: Indian Knishes!

Aloo paratha (आलू पराठा) is sold in many shops and frozen (cheap, but must not be microwaved!) These are a little mashed potatos and spices stuck into a paratha. It tastes pretty much like a spicy knish. A good potato knish is much better IMO, but any paratha is better than the soggy or leathery knishes generally sold (glaring at you, Gabila). And if there are kasha parathas, I haven't met them, though I would certainly like to.
posted by hexatron at 4:29 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Red flannel latkes (secret ingredient: beets).

My mother made them once as part of her annual latke feast, and they've been demanded every year since.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:18 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


In case anyone needs a recipe for cheese latkes
or Debbie Friedman singing her, er, classic song "I Am a Latke"
posted by the_blizz at 5:18 PM on December 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I didn't care about the history at all, till I got to the part where THEY USED TO BE MADE OF CHEESE!!!
posted by old_growler at 6:15 PM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


The "ready to ditch the potatoes?" link does not go to an article about non-potato options. As someone who abruptly developed a potato intolerance after hitting 40, I am disappoint. Clearly I must continue my own experiments into what non-potato vegetables can be shredded and fried. OMG I MISS POTATOES I WOULD MUG YOU FOR THAT LATKE IF I DIDN'T KNOW IT WOULD MEAN DAYS OF GUT PAIN
posted by Lexica at 6:57 PM on December 22, 2016


Ack! Lexica I posted the wrong link for that one - was supposed to go here! Flagging for mods if that helps...
posted by Mchelly at 7:10 PM on December 22, 2016


I had pork lung at a place in Leeds; it tasted like the rest of the animal. In Vienna I had beuschel, but the sauce ingredients were the prominent flavors.

That said, I wouldn't eat organ meats that weren't processed in a place not meant for human consumption.
posted by brujita at 7:33 PM on December 22, 2016


[Replaced non-potato link, carry on.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:51 PM on December 22, 2016


My family makes matzo meal latkes along with the traditional potato, and I actually preferred them as a kid. Now I like both just fine.
posted by nonasuch at 7:55 PM on December 22, 2016


The history of fried food on Hhannucah goes way back before potatoes: I've read that Maimonides' father refers to it as an ancient custom. He ate "svingous", which I take to be an Arabised version of "sufganin", which is mentioned in the Mishna (circa 200CE), and is probably related to the modern English word "sponge". So it would be a risen dough, deep-fried in oil; essentially a doughnut.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:05 PM on December 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ohh that nytimes link. Look I love latkes and non-potato options are great but a cabbage, carrot, and broccoli stem latke is just deep-fried coleslaw.
posted by drinkyclown at 8:57 PM on December 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Everything You Know About Latkes Is Wrong.

"Don't make latkes while naked" is easily verifiable through empirical testing.
posted by asperity at 7:45 AM on December 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I know Latka was from Caspiar, but only because Andy Kaufman said so in his comedy act.

By the way, I suspect the character Latka might be a Mountain Jew, which I only recently learned is a thing, which betrays a deep failure of my vast Jewish education.
posted by maxsparber at 8:17 AM on December 23, 2016


My Mom is from Pennsylvania coal country & latkes are surprisingly popular there, despite there being basically no Jews living there. Most people back there called them "potato pancakes" to disguise their origin as latkes, but that's basically what they were. Given the high numbers of Eastern Europeans in PA coal cracker country, I sometimes wonder if somebody's ancestor didn't swipe the latke recipe during the middle of some 19th-century pogrom.
posted by jonp72 at 8:43 AM on December 23, 2016


My mum makes them with dry mashed potatoes and tinned salmon. We're English, so I don't know if that's a East End London thing or what but they're delicious.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 3:26 AM on December 24, 2016


Potato pancakes are sold at German Christmas markets.
posted by brujita at 8:51 AM on December 24, 2016


I suspect the character Latka might be a Mountain Jew, which I only recently learned is a thing, which betrays a deep failure of my vast Jewish education.

Mountain Jews have +2 Strength and proficiency with light and medium armor, as opposed to Hill Jews, who have +1 Wisdom and gain 1 bonus hit point at each level.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:25 AM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hill Jew.
posted by maxsparber at 3:40 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


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