Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lots of Latkes

We read three latkes themed stories, in honor of Chanukah, today, starting with Leslie Kimmelman's The Runaway Latkes. I'm not sure why holiday food is always running away, or why children find it so funny - but they do.

Unlike the gingerbread men, latkes don't have feet, so they roll away, instead of running.

"Big and round, crisp and brown, off we roll to see the town! And YOU can't catch us!" is what they sing as the roll away from their maker, Rebecca Bloom, the Rabbi, the Cantor, two boys playing ball, a hungry dog, the mayor, and a pair of police officers. They roll through town, and to the river, where they meet with a Chanukah miracle, that has everyone returning to the synagogue for more of the tasty treats.

Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat, a Chanuka Story by Naomi Howland, also involves a Hanakkah miracle. In return for an act of kindness from a hungry young girl, an old women gives her the gift of a magic pan. When secret words are spoken, it produces latkes, until more secret words make it stop.

The girl, and her brothers enjoy days of hardy Chanukah meals, until one of the brothers overhears the words, and takes it on himself to make a snack. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the correct phrase to stop the pan. The story ends happily, though, with the whole village being invited to share in the feast.

Papa's Latkes, by Michelle Edwards, took us on a more serious turn. It is the story of a widower, and his two girls, celebrating their first Chanukah without their mother. The children loved the story, but I had a hard time getting through it - it is very sad.

Of course, after all the reading about latkes, we were curious to taste some. Howland's and Kimmelman's stories have recipes at the back, to try. Not being Jewish, we don't have anything to judge the oil fried, potato pancakes against, except McDonald's hash browns. And, they were better than that, so we're calling them a success.

Besides which, we had a very festive time making them, as everyone crowded around with an opinion. Were they cooking too long? Were they going to be burned? Would they be cooked on the inside? Why did the kitchen smell like fish? Would this be the day Mother finally managed to catch the kitchen on fire?

I'm glad to say they did not burn, and they did cook through. And, although the fishy smell of the hot olive oil is still hanging in the air, the kitchen is unsinged.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Joyful Learner said...

I love latkes! It's good with apple sauce. I may pick up some potatoes tomorrow and make some.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Oh, how fun! Our latkes turned out awesome, but I grated potatoes, and it's a lot more work than shredding them as I think you did. Also - I used canola oil, and it didn't seem to smell much.

Anonymous said...

We have a friend that makes these for a party we attend each year and they are so good. Glad it worked out well.

Phyllis said...

This was fun to read! I am running at least one day late on everything this year, but I am going to try to fit them in sometime before Hsnukkah is over!

Christy Killoran said...

We read The Runaway Latkes last year.

I'm glad your kitchen survived and the latkes came out fine!

Unknown said...

Nice book selections. Your latkes look very yummy. Thank you fir sharing.

Ticia said...

I need to find a good recipe for those, it's on my list to do.

Jeff Schmitz said...

Enjoyed this.

One other latke story which makes us laugh - The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Jeff - Thanks, that one looks good. We have it on hold now :)