A Shikse’s Guide to Winning Over your Jewish In-Laws

She’s gotta represent.

Feh!*  Don’t be a schmendrick*…

A lot of Jews will tell you that there is no Hannukah without potato pancakes.  They take it that seriously.

A bit of back history for all my shikse*-sistas:  Hannukah is a holiday about oil.  There was a situation, and the Jews of yore were fleeing persecution.  There was no electricity in their lives and the only light they had at night was from oil lamps.  They only had a little bit of oil, but God gave them a miracle and their oil lasted 8 nights.  Sometimes it can come in handy to be God’s chosen people…

So they celebrate by eating deep fried!  Now that’s my kinda holiday.

Now, you can be meshugena* and make your latkes from a mix, or you can be a baleboste* and win your in-laws’ undying devotion. Don’t believe me? Read what my brother-in-law posted on Facebook for me when this blog was born:
“Her recipes will make everyone love coming over your place for dinner! Check it out, unless you think there is something else you could be doing in the next 5 minutes that will make others say ‘wow, you’re awesome. how did you learn to do all that?’ the next time they see you.”

Thanks, brother!

Now, get your tuches* in the kitchen.

Authentic Jewish Latkes

3 potatoes
1 onion
about ¾ cup veg oil
¼ cup flour
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Put a big skillet on a medium-high flame and cover the bottom of it with oil.

Cut the root end and tip end off of your onion, halve and peel it.  Cut it into hunks…
…and cut your potatoes in hunks too.  Shred everything up in your food processor.
As you can see there is a lot of liquid there.  You want to try to get as much of that out as possible.  So put it in a colander and smoosh.
Crack in your egg, and add the flour and salt too.

Mix ‘til combined.
Carefully scoop some into the hot oil and kinda mash it down flat.
Now you just have to babysit them a little.  You’ll see it’s time to flip them when they start to get brown around the edges, like this:
I like to use two spatulas because, damn that oil is hot!  You don’t want to splash that on yourself.

They are done when they are nicely browned on both sides.
Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle them with salt while they are still glistening with hot oil (this way the salt really sticks).
Now, if you don’t have anyone shoveling them into their mouths as they come out of your skillet, you can keep them warm in the oven.  I like to put mine on a rack so they don’t get soggy on the bottom.
Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce.

So, leave the mix on the grocery store shelf.  It’s nothing but schlock*.  Nosh on some of these this Hannukah instead.


–  An expression of disgust or disapproval, representative of the sound of spitting.
shmendrick–  A jerk, a stupid person.
shikse–  A non-Jewish woman, all too often used derogatorily. It has the connotation of “young and beautiful,” so referring to a man’s Gentile wife or girlfriend as a shiksa implies that his primary attraction was her good looks.
mishegas–  Insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy man.
baleboste–  A good homemaker, a woman who’s in charge of her home and will make sure you remember it.
tuches–  Rear end, bottom, backside, buttocks. In proper Yiddish, it’s spelled tuchis or tuches or tokhis, and was the origin of the American slang word tush.
schlock–  Cheap, shoddy, or inferior.
shalom–  It means “deep peace.”


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