Latke

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Latke
Latkas.jpg
Latkes served with applesauce and sour cream
Alternative namesLevivot, latka, potato pancake
TypeFritter
Region or stateCentral and Eastern Europe
Serving temperatureHot, traditionally with sour cream or applesauce
Main ingredientsPotatoes, onion, egg, matzo meal, kosher salt, cooking oil

A latke (Yiddish: לאַטקע‎; sometimes romanized latka, lit. "pancake"), is a type of potato pancake or fritter in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine that is traditionally prepared to celebrate Hanukkah.[1] Latkes can be made with ingredients other than potatoes including cheese and zucchini.[2]

Etymology[edit]

The word comes from the Yiddish latke, itself from the East Slavic oladka, a diminutive of oladya 'small fried pancake', which in turn is from Hellenistic Greek ἐλάδιον '(olive) oil', diminutive of Ancient Greek ἔλαιον 'oil'.[3][4]

Its Modern Hebrew name, levivah (לביבה), is a revival of a word used in the Book of Samuel to describe a dumpling made from kneaded dough, part of the story of Amnon and Tamar.[5] Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav (לבב) means "heart," and the verbal form of l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well. In the lexicon of Ashkenazi Jews from Udmurtia and Tatarstan there are recorded versions of the kosher-style appellation of latkes during the eight-day Hanukkah holiday.[6]

History[edit]

Some version of latkes goes back to at least the Middle Ages.[7] They were probably made of cheese (probably either ricotta or curd cheese), fried in poppyseed oil or butter, and served with fruit preserves. These cheese latkes were the most common kind of latke in Ashkenazi communities until the 19th century, when the potato arrived in eastern Europe.[7][8][9][10] At the time, the cheapest and most readily available cooking fat was schmaltz, rendered poultry fat (usually from a goose or chicken), and due to Jewish dietary laws, which prohibit the mixing of meat and dairy products, alternatives to the cheese latke were introduced. These included buckwheat or rye flour, or other tubers endemic to the region, such as turnips.[11] As the potato became popular in eastern Europe, it was quickly adopted to the point that today, latke is almost synonymous with potatoes.[7]

Variations[edit]

Latkes today are most commonly made with potatoes, although other vegetables are also sometimes used. There are two main varieties: those made with grated potato and those made with puréed or mashed potato. The textures of these two varieties are different.[citation needed]

Grated potato version[edit]

Latkes made of grated potatoes with onions

Latkes made of grated potatoes are still very popular. They are prepared by grating potatoes and onions with a box grater or food processor; then excess moisture is squeezed out. Eggs and flour or matzo meal are then mixed with the potatoes, and the latkes are fried in batches in an oiled pan. The thickness is a matter of personal preference.

Puréed potato version[edit]

The dough for puréed potato latkes is puréed in a food processor. This form of latke is easier to shape, and has a "pudding-like consistency."[12]

Other variations[edit]

Before the potato, latkes were and in some places still are, made from a variety of other vegetables, cheeses, legumes, or starches.[13] Modern recipes often call for the addition of onions and carrots.[14][15] Other versions include zucchini, sweet onion, gruyere (for french onion flavor), and sweet potatoes.[16] Sephardic Jews make latkes with zucchini and garlic, omitting dairy-based toppings when served as a side for roasts or meat.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Koenig, Leah (17 March 2015). Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen. Chronicle Books. p. 119. ISBN 9781452132327. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2. ^ "What Are Latkes? Plus: A Simple Potato Latke Recipe". Chabad.org.
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, December 2019, [s.v. https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/106171]
  4. ^ Vasmer, Maksimilian Romanovich (1973) [1958]. Etimologichesky slovar russkogo yazyka (Этимологический словарь русского языка) [Russian Etymological Dictionary] (in Russian). Moskva: Progress.CS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
  5. ^ DLC (18 December 2006). "Analysis of the word "latke"". Balashon. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  6. ^ Altyntsev A.V., "The Concept of Love in Ashkenazim of Udmurtia and Tatarstan", Nauka Udmurtii. 2013. № 4 (66), p. 131. (Алтынцев А.В., "Чувство любви в понимании евреев-ашкенази Удмуртии и Татарстана". Наука Удмуртии. 2013. №4. С. 131: Комментарии.) (in Russian)
  7. ^ a b c Marks, Gil (17 November 2010). "Latke". Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 707. ISBN 978-0544186316. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  8. ^ Goodman, Matthew (23 November 2001). "On Chanukah, Cheese Was the Norm, But Then Came the Potato". Forward. Archived from the original on 7 September 2005. Retrieved 30 May 2017.CS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
  9. ^ Wex, Michael (12 April 2016). Rhapsody in Schmaltz: Yiddish Food and Why We Can't Stop Eating It. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781250071514.
  10. ^ "Discover the History of Latkes". PBS. 12 December 2011.
  11. ^ Wex, Michael (12 April 2016). Rhapsody in Schmaltz: Yiddish Food and Why We Can't Stop Eating It. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781250071514.
  12. ^ Geller, Jamie. "Healthier Potato Kugel Recipe (Recipe for potato kugel but she talks about this kind of latke later in the video)". Youtube. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  13. ^ Appelbaum, Yoni (11 December 2015). "Everything You Know About Latkes Is Wrong". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  14. ^ Rachael Ray, Quick Potato and Carrot Latkes, The Food Network, December 20, 2008.
  15. ^ Philip and Karen Selwyn, Potato-carrot-onion Latkes, rec.food.cuisine.jewish archives, Oct. 11, 1998, 1:00 AM.
  16. ^ "The only latke recipe video you'll ever need". JTA. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  17. ^ Levy, Faye. Faye Levy's International Jewish Cookbook. Grand Central Publishing.