When life gives you potatoes, make latkes…..

Here’s one of “those” columns.  You know, a “why I love running” type entry.   Nothing surprising here since:

  •  one of the points of this blog is to focus on being grateful, and
  • I love running and
  • I run just about every day, sometimes more than once.

Ergo [love using that], today features these lovelies.   Yum!


Given my gender, build, age, and metabolism (think slug), if I did not run, my daily caloric requirement would be about….well, strike that.  Let’s consider for a moment what it would NOT include, and that would in all likelihood be bread, pasta, cookies (must.have.cookies) and most of the toothsome carbs we know and love.  Not to mention fats.  Running eats up calories like not many other activities [pause/smile for what we’re all thinking here; that other activity].    While I do like to try and spend some of my miles on more spiritual thoughts, there are always at least a few during which I plan menus and dream about what I might want to eat later in the day.

This morning, it was latkes.    Time to celebrate the miracle of the oil.   I know Hanukkah is not the “Jewish Christmas” and is not a major holiday.  What it is, however, is a lot of fun.   Back before Jesus was born, Antiochus, the Greek king of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. Most Jews at the time fought back.  The Jewish Maccabees managed to reclaim their temple by driving the Syrian army out of Jerusalem.   That’s not the point of the holiday.  Here’s the really good part.  While the Maccabees wanted to rededicate their temple by lighting the “eternal flame,”  they only had enough consecrated oil to burn for one day. Miraculously, that little bit of oil lasted for eight (8!) days until more purified oil could be found.

That the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, and not the military victory, is significant.  Let’s accentuate the positive and the wonderment of it all, as opposed to the battle and the fighting.  And to do that, the oil is the Star, so you get to fry stuff for a good reason.  Enter that most homely and familiar of vegetables, the potato.  Together with the oil, a few basic helpers (onion, egg, matzoh) and the trick-about-to-be-mentioned, the potato becomes the epitome of yumminess.  Hooray and pass the spatula.  And get some cheesecloth.   Yes, cheesecloth.   I’m about to share a fantastic trick for making exceptional latkes.  It’s from my Internet friend (meaning I haven’t met him but I can attest to the goodness of his advice), Max Falkowitz.   Max, unlike me, grew up with latke-making grandmas and now writes a neat food blog.  Here is his “Complete, No-Nonsense, Slightly Neurotic Guide to Making Great Latkes,” wherein the secret of the cheesecloth is revealed.    Latke Recipe

Enough from me.  What are you waiting for?  Go, go, already; grab your oil, grate some spuds and get frying.  And don’t forget the cheesecloth!


......former public defender/legal aid lawyer, Teach For America teacher, and always running....

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2 comments on “When life gives you potatoes, make latkes…..
  1. Eyes + Words says:

    Happy Hanukkah 🙂

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Marathoner, Detroit native, Red Sox Nation member, lover of all things "all singing/all dancing" and glad you're here. Friends with Coco, Caroline and Simon (2 cats & the Eclectus Parrot).

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