Any excuse to eat fried foods is a good thing in my books. Fried foods are my weakness, something I just can’t help myself from eating despite knowing that the outcome will usually involve an unhappy stomach and a lot of sparkling water to try to make myself feel better. If there’s anything fried on a restaurant menu, you can almost be certain that I’ll order it and I’m of the opinion that most things taste better after having been cooked in some hot oil until they are golden and crisp. So as you can guess, I was very excited when it was time for me to start making Hanukkah recipes for Eating Jewish.
Latkes have become the quintessential Hanukkah food in North America and they have become so synonymous with its celebrations that for many people it simply wouldn’t be Hanukkah without them. I love latkes and there was no question in my mind that I would devote a post to them. Although potato latkes topped with sour cream are my favorite, I decided I wanted to expand my latke repertoire. After looking through numerous recipes for sweet potato, zucchini, and parsnip latkes, I came across this recipe for corn latkes and I immediately knew that these were the ones I was going to be making.
As explained in Gil Marks’ detailed entry about latkes in his Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, the potato latkes we know today are a relatively recent culinary invention and it was soft cheese latkes that were more commonly associated with Hanukkah in the past. It took much time for the potato latke to become Hanukkah fare due to the fact that it was only centuries after the potato was introduced into Europe by the Spanish, that they were accepted as being fit for consumption. Prior to this they were thought to be poisonous. The French and the Germans were the first to embrace the potato at the end of the eighteenth century, while it only became part of the diet in Eastern Europe around 1840.