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Though I don’t remember this, Gentleman Reg introduced me and Sarah at a Sufjan Stevens Christmas show at the Horseshoe, saying that we should know each other because we were queer girls writing about music (for competing weeklies). I didn’t hear that part because we were maybe shouting over the Danielson Familie. Anyway, here we are ten years later with our respective kids + dogs + nerding out on twitter.
When I was a kid, my mother would pack up the electric griddle every year and schlep to my public school for a latke-making session, to help balance the Xmas excess with a festive, oil-redolent dose of Jewish culture. I would love to claim this is an old family recipe that dates back through several generations of Bubbes.
Alas, it’s really only one generation old, but was handed down by a woman who many would claim is one of Toronto’s reigning notable culinary Jews: Bonnie Stern. According to my mother, who is herself an astonishingly gifted kitchen wizard, this is adapted from a recipe Stern posted in the Toronto Star many, many years ago.
As a hard-headed vegan (17 years and counting) I must admit I’m excluded from the many splendours of these tater cakes, but I wanted to share this recipe and not a more dietary restriction–friendly one because a) I have yet to find a truly Bubbe-worthy vegan latke [write in! -Ed], and b) THESE latkes are what I think of when I think of Hanukkah.
Sarah Liss’s mom’s adapted-from-Bonnie family latke recipe
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp matzo meal (or flour)

Vegetable oil method:

Cut onions into quarters and place into a food processor bowl fitted with the steel cutting blade. Chop onions by processing on and off a few times.

Add egg and blend with onion.
Cut potatoes into 2 inch chunks and add to onion/egg mixture.
Process on  and off until potatoes are grated but not pureed.

Add salt and matzo meal and stir to mix.
Heat about 1/2 inch vegetable oil.

Add batter by the spoonful and flatten with the back of the spoon. Cook until crisp—2 to 3 minutes—then turn and cook second side.
Drain pancakes on paper towels on a rack. Add more oil as needed.
Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Sarah Liss is a writer and editor whose work you can most regularly read in The Grid. She lives in Toronto with her partner, one big dog, one small dog, and one erratic cat, and wishes she were better at the dreidel game.
This is our fifth instalment in Bunch’s EIGHT DAYS of rock ‘n’ roll Latkes! Check out the others here.
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