Hanukkah and the Sweet Potato Latkes that Weren’t

Do you ever get an instinctual, gut feeling that an endeavor (say, a particular cooking project) just won’t end well? Do you ever ignore that gut feeling, despite the fact that said gut feeling has, in the past, been fairly accurate? ‘Cuz I sure do. Not often enough to make me question my own intelligence or anything, but often enough that I really should know better.

Let me back up a little.

Happy Hanukkah!

Disclaimer: I’m not Jewish. However, I do have Russian Jew heritage, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Hanukkah and all things Jewish. This “soft spot” manifested as more of a low-key obsession when I was a child; I made clay menorahs for my dolls and spun dreidels and ate my dad’s delicious latkes and wished I could celebrate the holiday for realsies. I might’ve moved on from that tiny obsession (which is not to say that I didn’t buy a Hebrew textbook at that amazing used book sale a few months back), but I still think Hanukkah and its accompanying rituals are rather enchanting.

As a nod to my heritage and to all my Jewish pals, I decided to make latkes for dinner tonight. Although Hannah’s recipe for baked latkes was timely and looked, quite honestly, delicious (since I’m no fan of fried and/or fat-laden foods), fate got in the way and led me astray. An absence of white potatoes necessitated my use of sweet potatoes instead, and although I probably should have just adapted Hannah’s recipe – what with my knowledge that baked latkes would be easier and would sit better in my tummy! – of course I ignored my instincts and decided to go with a more traditional (i.e. fried) recipe instead.

Sigh. I should’ve known better. Perhaps it’s obvious where this is going. My latkes did not, to put it mildly, turn out well. They didn’t look all crispy and yummy like the latkes from the original recipe do. I didn’t photograph them (or, really, it, because I ultimately created a monstrous, hideous, oily patty of sorts), but here are some of my thoughts during the cooking process:

  • Man, I really hate grating things. I hate the little nub at the end because I want to grate it all but I also want all my fingers.
  • Hmm, this mixture is really not coalescing at all…
  • Oh, yeah, I forgot that my stupid stove is tilted. Probably it’s not a great thing that all the oil is gathering in the back of the pan. Stupid stove. Stupid apartment.
  • Huh. Why are bits of my pancakes sticking to my spatula instead of the other bits?
  • Oh, this isn’t good. Yeah… these won’t be pancakes. Wonder if I can call them hash browns.
  • Ah. Ah, that’s gross. They’re oozing oil.
  • Maybe I’ll just make it into one giant pancake and call it a day.
  • Oh #@%&, I don’t have any paper towels. Damn my smug, eco-friendly self! How will I blot this oily mess?
  • …I do have Kleenex…
  • Well, this is kind of disgusting. But I refuse to waste it.

Yes, friends, I had a major latkes fail. SIGH. Happy Hanukkah to me – I gave myself a tummyache and an apartment that smells like fried disgustingness.

Guess what, though? You can set yourself up for a much better Hanukkah, Christmas, Festivus, or General December of Awesomeness! If you’re in the mood for a gift of your own, check out my giveaway – you can win a bunch of lovely handmade vegan craft items and a cookbook, just in time for holiday baking. And let’s hope that your holiday baking is 1000x more successful than my holiday latkes-failing.

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2 thoughts on “Hanukkah and the Sweet Potato Latkes that Weren’t

  1. Oh man, Kelly. I feel your latke pain. I AM Jewish–I’m just not great at flipping any kind of pancake goodness–I get impatient, LOL. I have some potatoes–I might make some, but I’m afraid! LOL!

    xoxo,
    LJ

    Like

  2. Don’t worry, it’s not just you and your lack of jewishness- Much of my desire to make baked latkes came from the fact that I can’t fry them to save my life! Every time I tried in the past, they would just fall apart in the oil, and when I tried to pan-fry them, they stuck horribly. Hopefully you get a positive latke experience soon, because they really can be tasty- I promise!

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