I just purged my refrigerator of the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers yesterday, and now I have to fill it back up with matzo ball soup, potato latkes, and vegetable kugel. Tomorrow?
My Hebrew school dropout status is still plaguing me at age 37, apparently.
In addition to being unprepared, I have the added pressure that it’s my son’s first Hanukkah. As of now, I have nothing for him. No cute “It’s my First Hanukkah” onesie, no special menorah, no gifts. Yeah, I am feeling like a rock star Mommy right about now. Thank G-d I have 8 nights to get this right.
This would never happen during Christmas. The decorations go up right after Halloween, the teary “home again” commercials start airing, and the radio stations begin playing holiday music exclusively months in advance. Jews have one Hanukkah song by Adam Sandler in rotation. It’s easier to forget when it starts, you know?
Hanukkah is anyone’s guess. I hope it falls around December 25 so I have time to prepare, but there are years when it sneaks up on me like thong underwear post pregnancy.
Thankfully, I can fall back on tradition when it comes to cooking some Hanukkah favorites. There are certain dishes we make each year–both Idaho and sweet potato latkes, for example. Jew or non-Jew, one cannot help but love handmade pillows of potatoes fried to perfection in small batches. And my “to do” list for tomorrow just got a little shorter because I always have the ingredients in the house. Maybe I can pull off a Hanukkah miracle for my son during my lunch break after all.
Old Fashioned Potato Latkes
3 cups of grated potatoes (Idaho or sweet)
1 onion, grated
3 scallions, chopped fine
2 eggs, beaten well
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Grate the potatoes by hand in a medium grater, or by food processor with a medium blade. Drain the potatoes of excess liquid. Grate the onion and add it with the scallions into the potatoes. Add matzo meal, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Pour a good amount of oil into a frying pan (enough to generously coat the pan for frying). Heat the oil until hot, and drop the potato latke mixture in by the tablespoonful. Fry until they turn brown, and then flip it over. Drain well on paper towels. Serve immediately with applesauce or sour cream.