Baby’s First Latke

I’m about as dull and WASP-y as they come. My heritage is entirely Western European. I attended a private Christian school in the heart of the Bible Belt. For us, Catholics were “diverse.”

College, travel and the working world have opened my eyes to amazing cultures–some across the world and some right in my backyard. This week, my Mom and I jumped at the chance to celebrate one of those “backyard cultures” with precious friends. We learned all about Hanukkah and loved it.


The event’s purpose was two fold: education and celebration. We received updates on the current situation in Israel first-hand from a Birmingham Jewish Federation member who recently traveled there as a show of support and solidarity. You can read about his trip in this USA Today article. To say I was touched was an understatement.

Han Collage

We celebrated Hanukkah by hearing its story and traditional prayer, then lighting the menorah. It was reverent and beautiful.

I’ve also discovered that I am smitten with latkes. I cornered the chef to discuss what went into those fabulous pancakes. Shredded potatoes, pureed potatoes, onion, Kosher salt and matzo meal were on the list. I must learn how to make these, stat! My mom and I were intrigued by the idea of sour cream and apple sauce with pancakes, but it’s perfection.

We left with a traditional dreidel and a handful of gelt. (chocolate!) Many thanks to the Jewish community in Birmingham for opening your doors to WASP-y neighbors. We loved sharing that special night with you.


2 thoughts on “Baby’s First Latke

  1. Beautiful, Britt. Thanks for sharing this lovely story. Any holiday where it’s mandatory to enjoy fried foods – and celebrate freedom – is a great one, no? 🙂

    Latkes are wonderful, and the addition of matzo meal is a great trick! I only just tried it for the first time last night. While my home, hair, clothes and even my dog still reek of FRIED, it’s worth it to enjoy latkes dipped in applesauce and sour cream. Starting them on the stovetop and finishing them in the oven is a great way to get them to cook through without absorbing *too* much oil and keeping them warm for guests.

    Here’s a brief tutorial on one of the many ways to make latkes: A friend recently used apples instead of potatoes. Get creative and enjoy! Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)!

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