notably not

In trying to decide what to write about this week, I had narrowed my selection down to two choices. Then I remembered that today would be the day after Passover started, and my choice seemed pretty clear.

Now, I am notably not Jewish, though I wanted to be as a little girl. My parents had bought me - and ostensibly my brother, I suppose - a children's encyclopedia set, and one of my favorite activities was reading about different religions. (Yeah, in retrospect that major in religious studies seems like a given, even if it was kind of a surprise at the time.) I don't know exactly what about Judaism appealed to my elementary school self, but boy did it. Rosh Hashanah coincided with my birthday when I was maybe ten, and I was so excited I decided to fast. It lasted until lunchtime, I think.

The religion still maintains a little of that charm for me. Seder, for instance, is pretty much the best in my opinion. And since I don't have one to go to this year, I had to improvise.

I realize that latkes - or potato pancakes - are usually more Hanukkah food than Passover, but, um, I love them so much. (This should be no surprise, after my valentine to potatoes.) After all, what is better than starch, salt, and oil? Not much, I'd wager.

These were one of my first food ambitions; I had latkes two Hanukkahs ago and needed more of them in my life. Why it took me so long to get around to making them I'm not sure. I already want to make them again. (Well, except for the fact that my apartment still smells like fried potatoes and oil. It's...well, it's not the best.)

I wish I had a better picture of the finished product for you. I may have been able to take a better one, if I hadn't kept eating the latkes right off the paper towels. They are so good. So. Good.

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

2 potatoes
1/4 c. yellow onion
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 egg

Peel and grate the potatoes, making sure that you get medium-to-large shreds. Place gratings in a bowl lined with paper towels to start draining. You'll want to continue to wring out the potatoes until they are as dry as you can get them.

When dry, place the potatoes in a large bowl. Add finely chopped onions, salt, and pepper - mix, using your hands if you like. (It's kind of fun, albeit a little messier.) Then add the egg, stirring to combine.

Coat a frying pan with oil and let it heat up a little. This part is a little tricky if you're not careful, because you don't want to splatter hot oil on yourself. Spoon about a tablespoon of the batter into the pan and flatten into a little pancake. Repeat the process to fill up your pan. Fry for about five minutes on each side, until brown.

Serve hot, traditionally with sour cream or applesauce. Makes about 8.

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