Open Thread: Happy Hanukkah!

Well, give them points for staying on theme — relentlessly!

And with the dark and cold enshrouding, who can say no to candles, friends, fried latkes and jelly donuts?

87 replies
  1. 1
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    I saw Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1964) a week or so ago, along with Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970), and I have to say the former is a terrible movie on moral grounds. While SCICT is simplistic, it’s still a better movie with decent lessons and better musical numbers. In RTRNR, exclusion of those that are different is a virtue and encouraged by authority figures (including Santa!), at least until Rudolph proves useful enough for them to overlook his red nose.

    I hadn’t seen Rudolph in years, so I was pretty shocked at how awful it was, on many levels. It hasn’t held up well, and I have a difficult time believing people thought so differently in 1964 to think that this was kids movie material.

  2. 2
    Bruuuuce says:

    who can say no to candles, friends, fried latkes and jelly donuts?

    Sadly, due to diabetes and diabetic kidney damage, I’m down to the first two only. (Potatoes are the worst, being both high-carb and high-potassium.)

    But aside from that, I’m warm and dry, got my friends, my net connection, a new Instant Pot, the Giants and the Knicks pulled big upsets, and I have a cat under my right hand. What else could anyone ask for?

  3. 3

    My husband has been asking what the difference is between latkes and (some preparations of) hash browns, and I’m at a loss. There seems to be considerable intersection between the set of things considered latkes and the set of things considered hash browns.

    In unrelated news, I finally finished the beta draft of my new short story! 6,098 words, exactly where I wanted it.

  4. 4
    Damien says:

    This and bashing on Wilmer are really the content that keeps me coming back.

  5. 5
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Major Major Major Major: My latkes have shredded onions; my hash browns don’t.

    And I’ve never willingly served applesauce or sour cream with hash browns.

  6. 6
    p.a. says:

    Bah. Chumbug!

    Just kidding…

  7. 7
    eemom says:

    I thought latkes were more like pancakes.

  8. 8
    debbie says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Latkes are pancakes fried in a pan of oil (approx. 1 inch worth). Hash browns are chopped up potatoes usually fried in butter on a grill or in a pan.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    fried latkes

    As listed in the Department of Redundancy Department Cookbook for Cooks.


    @Major Major Major Major

    The difference? Addition of beaten eggs to form a batter and, if doin’ latkes right, baking powder to get some rise.

    To be beyond the pale old school traditional, also some knuckle blood from grating the potatoes by hand. ;)

  10. 10
    debbie says:


    Onions make latkes mushy. I save the onions, chives, etc. for toppings along with sour cream, applesauce, and sometimes a bit of caviar.

  11. 11
    Jerzy Russian says:

    That was awesome!

  12. 12
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:
    Wow, this was tone deaf, given the thread content. That’s what happens when all you read is “Open Thread” sometimes…

    Really cool video! Explains a lot of Jewish religious traditions in a fun way!

  13. 13
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Oh, no, no, no. Hash browns are not latkes.

  14. 14
    zhena gogolia says:

    One of the few things I miss about my ex-husband. Primo latkes.

  15. 15


    a new Instant Pot

    Welcome to the cult!

  16. 16
    zhena gogolia says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    IANJ because grandfathers don’t count, but I don’t think most Jewish people get offended by Rudolph and Santa.

  17. 17
    debbie says:

    Are jelly doughnuts a new Hanukkah tradition? We never had them at any of the celebrations I went t as a kid.

  18. 18

    @zhena gogolia: I’ve definitely eaten “hash browns” that were indistinguishable (to me) from latkes.

  19. 19
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    Well, it’s Christmas stuff. Not “offensive”, exactly, but kind of silly to bring up in a thread (even an open one) about Hanukkah.

  20. 20
    debbie says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Not a problem in my family. We celebrated both holidays and watched every special they aired. My dad always got a kick out of displaying our Christmas tree and menorah in the window facing the Orthodox rabbi who lived next door.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:


    Several alternatives:

    1) fry the grated onion first until browned and just barely beginning to get crispy, drain and then add to the latke batter.
    2) mix some extra flour in with the grated raw onion and potato before adding the eggs, to absorb some of the juices that can lead to mushiness.
    3) freeze the grated onion and add it in that state.

  22. 22
    Manyakitty says:

    @debbie: My latkes have matzah meal instead of flour. Also, I use the blender for the potatoes.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    Say what now? Neither offensive nor silly.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Real greasy spoon diner hash browns, cooked on the griddle (with lots of paprika, please, and chopped, not shredded taters) are a mitzvah, but they sure ain’t latkes.

  26. 26
    FlyingToaster says:

    @debbie: Ah, not if you squeeze out the liquid first.

    I grate the potatoes and onions into cheesecloth and then hang them to drip for about ~30 minutes. Then add eggs and whatever other binder (matzoh meal, flour, some kind of starch), salt n pepper, and form patties, which are fried in ~1/2 inch of sunflower oiil. The oil can be deeper, it depends on how thick you make the patties.

    @debbie: Soofganiot (transliterate it however y’all like) are beignets, more or less; if you’re serving them as dessert, injecting them with jelly is an alternative to dousing them in honey or powdered sugar.

  27. 27
    debbie says:


    Yeah, we squeeze the grated potatoes in cheesecloth. I get one of my brothers to do it since they’re far stronger than I. But still, never with onions!

    Best of all is when I get to make them at someone else’s house. What a mess!

  28. 28
    MazeDancer says:

    As a stone cold Queen fan, and pretty close to a certified Brian May groupie, have to say that was one of the best Bo-Rhap’s ever.

    Loved it.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:


    High on the list of Kitchen Impossibilities:

    Cooking too many latkes.

  30. 30

    @NotMax: I’ve definitely eaten many more latkes that were clearly not hash browns but the crispy variety seems really similar to certain places’ hash browns.

  31. 31
    CaseyL says:

    Schmaltz. The biggest difference between latkes and any other potato pancake is that latkes are supposed to be fried in schmaltz, aka rendered chicken fat.

    I don’t care if it isn’t healthy. Latkes fried in anything else are not latkes.

  32. 32
    Mayim says:

    Different traditions. The general guideline is fried food, so Ashkenszi (eastern European) Jews made fried potato pancakes.
    Sefardi (Mediterranean) Jews fry other foods, including sufganiyot (jelly donuts).
    Most Jews in the U.S. are Ashkenazi, so that was the predominant tradition. In Israel, the Ashkenazi/Sefardi split is close to even, so the Sefardi tradition is spreading.

  33. 33
    Bruuuuce says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Thank you. Black Friday is good for something after all! It’s been tested, and will be used to make what the recipe calls Kahlua Pork (but not the liqueur, just a Hawaiian style) after the pig defrosts and I debone it.

  34. 34
    Bruuuuce says:

    @CaseyL: I saw someone on one of the food channels recently fry latkes in duck fat. If I were making them, I’d definitely be all over that.

  35. 35
    FlyingToaster says:

    And for another hit of Hanukkah crazy: The Technion

  36. 36
  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    At least since becoming an adult don’t have the candy Hannukah gelt* forced on me anymore.

    *coin-shaped discs of the bar none lousiest chocolate on the planet, wrapped in gold colored foil.


  38. 38
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Bruuuuce: @Major Major Major Major: No offense, but that sounds kind of gross

  39. 39
    CaseyL says:

    @Bruuuuce: I would definitely try them, because I suspect it would be a slightly different flavor.

  40. 40
    NotMax says:


    Enjoy it to the utmost. Incredibly versatile cooker.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Have you had a latke of any kind? Have you had fries cooked in duck fat?

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    Duck fat is a wonder. Wood shavings cooked in it might even turn out to be luscious.

  44. 44
    Anne Laurie says:


    *coin-shaped discs of the bar none lousiest chocolate on the planet, wrapped in gold colored foil.

    To be fair (as my Jewish friends would explain), it had to be kosher. And also resistant to melting, even when shaped into thin discs wrapped in metal foil… clutched in the hot little hands of small greedy children. So, lots of ‘wax’ mixed with the cocoa powder.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Gvg says:

    I bought an instant pot. Any recommendations for a cookbook? I am not a very good cook and need clear instructions that don’t assume I already know things. I want to be able to cook basic good food, not exotic variations yet.

  47. 47
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Ah luv that stuff.

  48. 48
    danielx says:

    Totally OT, but are there any jackals out there who are (unfortunately) familiar with rotator cuff injuries?

  49. 49
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Unfortunately I am allergic to Duck (discovered during a rather posh dinner at Cadbury Country Club years ago but I digress). I have to be careful because lots of things over here (like roast potatoes served in restaurants) are cooked in Duck fat and they could serve me up serious problems.

  50. 50
    NotMax says:

    @Casey L

    Tradition was to use oil for Hanukkah latkes, not fat, as a nod to the lamp oil in the story.

    @Anne Laurie

    re: chocolate

    If only the story of Hanukkah had a bunny rabbit in it somewhere…


  51. 51
    Karen says:

    @NotMax: Does it taste so nasty because it’s kosher chocolate? Kosher ice cream is double nasty.

    How do I post pictures here?

  52. 52
    NotMax says:


    How about some clear step-by-step videos? While certainly not the only place to find such, lots of those here.

  53. 53

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I feel you, I’m allergic to chicken.

    @danielx: me, what’s up?

  54. 54
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Karen: Kashrut doesn’t force the flavor to suck; that’s a side effect of the “don’t let the chocolate melt” requirement.

    You can get better Gelt, but it costs more. Seriously more. And then it smears all over your kids’ clothes, because they eat like they were raised in a barn*.

    *Living that life right now.

    Edited for craptastic spelling and grammar.

  55. 55
    NotMax says:


    Only members of The Most Exalted Order of Front Pagers can post pictures. the rest of us must post links.

  56. 56
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I have to admit, I’ve had neither. I have had roast duck before, though.

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I dare! What ya going to do now?

  57. 57
    CaseyL says:

    @NotMax: I’m sure you’re right, but my family did not subscribe to that tradition. They decided to follow a more delicious one :)

    Also, you can have latkes any time of year – and fry them in schmaltz then, without disrespecting the Maccabees.

  58. 58
    waratah says:

    I love that video.

  59. 59
    Bruuuuce says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Duck fat is richer than chicken fat, which is in turn richer than vegetable oil. Chicken fat is what my ancestors had, but the duck fat sounds like a worthwhile modern improvement. It may not be to your taste; that’s okay, too.

  60. 60
    Juju says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I’m allergic to shellfish and fish. If fries are fried in the same oil any fish is fried in, I can’t eat it. Also, I’m tired of Red Lobster commercials. When they show the body of a lobster cut in half it makes me gag a little, plus all the other seafood in the commercial. Bleh.

  61. 61
    satby says:

    @danielx: both shoulders at different times. Ozark is also a rotator cuff injury veteran.
    You had a question?

  62. 62
    donnah says:


    I love my Instant Pot!

    My go-to cookbook is Great Food Fast by Bob Warden. Lots of great recipes, easy to use, very clear directions, and cook times. I’ve made a lot of the recipes and loved them. The Mac and Cheese is awesome!

  63. 63

    @satby: perhaps he’s just making a list.

  64. 64
    danielx says:


    Yes, I was doing something stupid (cleaning second story gutters with a leaf blower) and started sliding because the shady side of the roof wasn’t dry. Went down on my left side with my shoulder the primary point of contact, then had to kind of drag myself back up to the dry with my left arm because I had the leaf blower in my right hand. Having real trouble raising my left arm above my shoulder.

  65. 65
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    bashing on Wilmer

    This is the name of my next band.

  66. 66
    danielx says:


    It’s not bad, though I thought if I ever have a band I’d go for Black Velvet Elvis.

  67. 67
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    My latkes have shredded onions.

    My hovercraft is full of eels.

  68. 68

    @danielx: ice and ibuprofen for now but get thee to a doctor.

  69. 69
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Major Major Major Major: You live in New York City, site of one of the greatest ingatherings of Jews in all of human history. I think you ought to be able to find a restaurant that serves latkes pretty easily.

    I suggest B&H Dairy on Second Avenue. They are probably open right now.

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I like to stay edgy and up to date.

  71. 71

    @Ohio Mom: I didn’t say I was hard-up for latkes.

  72. 72
    danielx says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    ON the agenda for tomorrow; taking measures in the meantime.

  73. 73
    Ohio Mom says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: No worries. Liberal (as in religiously liberal) adult American Jews are inured to all things Christmas.

    Thinking about what I remember about the Rudolph special, I am not surprised to hear it hasn’t aged well. Though I imagine the stop anuimation is still cute.

  74. 74
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I was thinking that if your husband is unclear on the concept, a couple of bites will clear up any confusion.

  75. 75
    The Golux says:

    @Bruuuuce: When I was diagnosed with diabetes (Type 1, at the ripe old age of 54) I had to adapt to the fact that all the varieties of bread that I loved loved loved were mostly in the rear view mirror. I found that pasta and rice were relatively easy to avoid. Potatoes, however, are a real problem – it’s hard to be disciplined when they’re available, in any form. (That, and good thin crust New Haven style pizza.)


    Regarding “Bohemian Rhapsody” — the parodies are piling up like “Downfall” reworkings. My favorite remains Lake Street Dive’s version.

  76. 76
    NotMax says:

    @Ohio Mom

    Oh my.

    Oops. Never mind, you’re talking about food.


  77. 77
    Overland says:

    Danielx: The same accident happened to me a few months back–hard roof hit to shoulder, pulled arm for same shoulder “digging for potatoes” clawing back to higher on roof. Hurts like hell.

    Majorx4 has it right, see the doctor, not likely to get better on its own. In my case shoulder Xray showed no damage, physical therapy after that. Just about better but still weak lifting that arm. Good luck.

  78. 78
    OldDave says:

    @danielx: Good Luck and best wishes – I took a tumble when a ladder went sideways in the wet, soft dirt while hanging shutters in preparation for Hurricane Wilma. Ten+ years later I still can’t lift that arm much over my head; there’s a bone spur that’s impinging on a ligament. Maybe I’ll get it fixed one day – it wasn’t that big of a deal until the other shoulder froze up and “my bad arm” became “my good one”. ;-)

  79. 79
    Karen says:

    @NotMax: Okie dokey.

  80. 80
    Chacal Charles Calthrop says:

    @Ohio Mom: or you can buy latkes prepackaged to go at Russ & Daughters on Houston.

  81. 81
    Karen says:

    @Ohio Mom: Did you have a Hanukkah bush? My father refused.

  82. 82
    Karen says:

    @Chacal Charles Calthrop: I’m settling for Golden’s frozen latkes.

  83. 83
    J R in WV says:


    My wife had a dislocated right shoulder, after the ER successfully reduced around 3 am, they neglected to issue her a proper sling to immoblize her arm until she could see a orthopedic guy three days later – it was and is a mess, after the repair surgery.

    I wouldn’t see that guy myself again. Lots of PT didn’t help that much.

  84. 84
    debbie says:



  85. 85
    J R in WV says:

    I love latkes – was taught about them by a polish neighbor from up around the greater Youngstown OH area.

    I don’t use flour in them, grated potatoes & onions, salt and pepper, sometimes some curry powder. I’m a heathen, I use bacon drippings to fry the potatoes, til they’re brown and crispy. Southern style as opposed to kosher. And hot sauce and sour cream with.

  86. 86
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    Also, I have never had a problem grating the potatoes, just using a big old box grater. I do peel them first, except the the tag end I plan to hold while I grate them…

  87. 87
    satby says:

    @danielx: ok, late back, but agree with the see a doctor part. I always thought naproxen helped me more with musculoskeletal injuries and aches than my other NSAIDs, but Aleve,etc will do. I did ok with just PT, but nothing was broken so ymmv. Good luck!

Comments are closed.