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Vary the flavors of latkes this Hanukkah: Recipes, tips

December 21, 2016

These latke are served with chipotle sour cream. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) Potatoes are the blank canvas of the kitchen. The inexpensive tubers respond well to a variety of flavorful additions, especially when grated to make dishes such as potato pancakes, or latkes. Hanukkah, which begins at sundown Saturday (Dec. 24), is prime time for this fried potato treat, traditionally made with potato and onion, and served with applesauce. Foods fried in oil are customarily served during the "festival of lights" to commemorate the ancient story of the miracle of a day's worth of oil that lasted eight days: The temple in Jerusalem had been desecrated by invaders, leaving only a single day's worth of purified oil for the faithful. Still, the oil burned for eight days, allowing enough time for more to arrive. To commemorate the miracle, Jews light a candle on the menorah for eight nights, using the ninth candle -- the shamash or "attendant" -- to light the others. (Read "How to Light the Menorah" for more details.) This media selection requires that Adobe Flash Player be installed on your computer. Please follow your browser's download and installation instructions or click here to download this software for free. This media selection is not yet available on your device. Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos. Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos. Some historians offer another suggestion for why latkes specifically became part of the Hanukkah tradition. The dish likely arose from the availability of fat from geese that were slaughtered each December, according to ReformJudaism.org: "Even a poor person could find a potato in the field, an onion in the cellar, and some of the precious, newly-rendered goose fat to create the Hanukkah culinary story of Neis gadol hayah sham -- A great miracle happened there." The classic latke is always a winner; and The New York Times has a terrific classic recipe, with a great how-to video. Still, the custom of eating latkes during...

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